MILAN — Fashion and research were the focus at the recent edition of Filo/NexTex, a yarn, fabric and protective-clothing trade fair.

Spinners from the Biella and Prato textile districts, whose yarns are destined for the high-end apparel market, shared space with producers of high tech yarns and fabrics used in commercial, medical, military and civil defense applications. More than 80 companies participated in the two-day fair, which closed April 1.

On the fashion side, spinners showed natural and manmade fibers in traditional colors for the fall 2005-winter 2006 apparel market.

Biella spinners Zegna-Baruffa and G.T.I. combined fibers to create special textural and color effects.

G.T.I. mixed merino wool with long-staple wool from Scotland to produce a soft yarn with a rustic look. “We also mixed plant fibers with hair fibers because we like the tonal variations the mixes create in the yarn,” said president Alberto Fignani.

While colorful tweed patterns were on offer at Zegna-Baruffa, yarn designer Alberto Viana admitted that clients still favor black and all shades of gray.

Classic Chanel-inspired looks were the mainstay of Filatura Lana Pettinata Trabaldo. “We were able to create multitonal effects by putting together various fiber combinations as fibers absorb color differently,” said owner Franco Trabaldo Togna.

Iafil used extra-long-staple cotton fibers for its winter collection. Bouclé finishes were achieved by using a twisting method. The company also used enzyme-corrodible dyes to create vintage looks.

Technically minded vendors focused on high-performance fabrics and yarns.

Biella-based Filatura Marchi specializes in flame-retardant and antibacterial yarns. The company also produces single and twisted yarns in natural, synthetic and manmade fibers for the fashion apparel industry.

“The modacrylics and Trevira polyester we use in the production of our technical yarns can be mixed with other fibers and still maintain high flame-retardant qualities,” said Massimo Peretto, technical service manager for research and development.

Other companies exhibiting in the NexTex sector specialized in antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial yarns and fabrics, while still others produced protective clothing for military and civil defense applications.

The marriage between the most traditional side of the textile industry and the most innovative, and the least traditional side of the industry was seen by many exhibitors as a chance to respond to the changing needs of the market.The National Chamber of Italian Fashion recently reported an increase in the number of Italian textile and yarn firms that take advantage of lower production costs available in other countries.

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