Fashion trend forecasting today requires being tapped into all facets of contemporary culture. And the yarn industry, a somewhat behind-the-scenes side of the business, is no exception.

Sardinia-based designer and creative director Angelo Figus is generally regarded as the creative force behind Pitti Filati and the yarn trends that eventually trickle onto the runway.

Figus, a jewelry and ready-to-wear designer in his own right, was contacted in 2003 by Pitti Immagine’s ceo Raffaello Napoleone, who asked him to revolutionize the fair.

Figus has worked for Pitti Filati since then to create concepts that set the course for the color and texture of yarns that serve the luxury sector.

WWD spoke with Figus about his role, his passion for yarns, his recent collaboration with the Missoni family for the exhibition “Missoni Art Colour” at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, and what trends to expect at Pitti Filati.

Where do yarn trends come from?

Trends are everywhere and you need to know how to take advantage of signals that come from the street and combine them with your own experiences to make them a serious trend.

How were you approached by Pitti Immagine for this role?

In September 2003, we had just opened the “Genovanversa viceversa” exhibition at the MOMU. I was a curator with Linda Loppa. She phoned me to announce Pitti Immagine ceo Raffaello Napoleone was coming to visit. She said she had some news of a revolution that he had in mind for Pitti Filati.

What’s new for Pitti Filati in terms of trends?

In the Spazio Ricerca, we will do it through a synthetic selective representation of five aspects that I believe are fundamental elements of the word Play: stage, glam, performance, playtime and sport. Each will be connected to a subtheme: mime-shadow, rock-diva, bizarre-surreal, doll-Lego-PlayStation and body-soul. Each mood will be narrated by a visionary tactile encyclopedia where, from the sweaters to the walls to the mannequins and supports themselves, visitors can touch and discover everything.

Your career has been very diverse (designer, art director, stylist). How did you start?

At the age of 14, I collected all kinds of garments from the people I knew in my hometown, Ales, Sardinia, turning them into something new. I was finally discovered by the owner of a shop in Cagliari and Porto Cervo. They were so passionate about my work that they started to sell my clothing under the counter to Annie Lennox, Jazzie B, Simply Red and David Bowie.

Who are some of your other past clients?

I have been involved in art-direction projects and designing collections for clients including Coca-Cola and Marks & Spencer.

When I launched my collection in Paris in 2000, I started also an intense collaboration with the Opera of Amsterdam as a costume designer and I got involved in art projects. Recently, I collaborated with the Missoni family, specifically with Angela and Luca for the exhibition “Missoni Art Colour” at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.

Do you feel you are an artist or a designer?

I eventually was drawn closer to the world of art and that gave me the chance to work with artists like Jannis Kounellis and Ugo Rondinone. Since then, I have been working for many brands in Italy and abroad as fashion designer creative director, fashion consultant and stylist.

Would you say fashion trends begin with yarns?

Without a doubt, yes. Color and fiber are the DNA of a collection. Trends start from yarn.

What is the purpose of special sections at Pitti Filati like Play?

The focus is on the material and to push ourselves beyond technical and aesthetic confines.

What are the trends for Pitti Filati? Are they more sustainable than ever?

Trends are becoming more human and intimate, they are more and more connected with the destination of use and the performance of the garment and the sensation they provide.

We are definitely going straight to a new sustainable world in terms of economy and aesthetics.