By  on November 7, 2006

MILAN — Yarn manufacturers exhibiting collections for the summer 2008 season at Filo last month were regaining confidence and momentum as buyers hunted for higher quality and more special products.

The 26th edition of Filo, under new management by the Biellese Industrial Union, ran Oct. 25 and 26 at the Centro Congressi Stelline here and saw manufacturers showing natural yarns woven into micro-fineness for summer. The technical yarn fair's exhibitors grew to 62 from 55 in the previous edition and visitors increased 19 percent to 2,537.

"This fair is considered niche, but it is doing extraordinarily well," said Carlo Boselli, managing director of MarioBoselli Yarns. "All the exhibitors here are specialized and I see a return of clients searching for that."

Andrea Ongetta, president of the Treviso-based firm Ongetta, also recognized the resurgence of European mills.

"Things are going well because the Italian textile industry has taken back some of the ground it lost to the Middle East," Ongetta said. "It's a good moment now and it's shaping up to be a good 2007."

She added that the mill expected 2006 sales to be up 20 percent from the $48 million generated in 2005.

Most manufacturers worked on variations of ultrafine natural yarns like silk, cotton and bamboo, using new tauten techniques in the weft. Soft, slippery and dry hands were used to finish the yarns.

Iafil led the pack on yarn fineness. The company showed an ultrafine cotton it named Finest 180/2. When spun into fabric, the cotton resembled a gossamer-like organza silk.

"This is the finest thing we have ever done and I'd say it's finer than silk. We mercerized it to give it a glossy finish — you can't mercerize silk," said Ales Rigamonti, Iafil's product manager.

Rigamonti said the cotton, which is priced at 86 euros, or about $110, a kilo, was likely to be used for bridal and couture garments.

Iafil also developed a yarn dubbed Sotto Sopra with a hidden color in the center of the thread. When woven into fabric, Sotto Sopra reveals its center color in any tailor-made design. Iafil showed it in a Prince of Wales check. Rigamonti said clients could customize colors in fabric made of Sotto Sopra yarn in the washing process.Botto Paola also showed compact, shiny yarns. For its Cascami Seta collection, the mill mixed mohair and silk that when woven into fabric had shantung-like properties. A bamboo and silk mix was extra shiny and had a slippery hand.

"It's a good moment for silk and we are seeing it used in ready-to-wear combined with thicker knitwear," said sales manager Stefano Botto Paola.

Bamboo also showed up at Filati Maclodio, mixed with cotton and silk to give an ultraglossy sheen. The mill produced a sheer, feather-light jersey yarn spun from micro-viscose and linen.

Also enjoying the fruits of the market's upswing was MarioBoselli Yarns, which expects to close 2006 with a 15 percent increase in volume.

"Our classic jersey knitted yarns in viscose and polyester are selling almost faster than we can produce them," Boselli said. "A lot of designers are using jersey in their collections."

The mill presented a 100 percent polyester yarn, which, thanks to a new twisting technique, mimicked the effects of shantung silk when woven.

"Its advantage over silk is its durability and price," Boselli added.

Silk mill Ongetta played with mixes of natural yarns for its summer 2008 collection. A shiny shantung yarn was spun from 30 percent silk and 70 percent linen and had a crisp hand. Metal was mixed with silk so that yarn would have a malleable structure.

Technical yarn specialist Filcompany also added some bamboo and linen mixes to its collection, but the mill mostly had next fall on its mind.

"Orders for fall-winter 2007-2008 yarns are slow, thanks to the current warm fall conditions Europe is experiencing," said technical production manager Simone Mugnai. "Clients are hesitant to buy winter yarns when the sun is shining outside."

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