By  on April 17, 2007

MILAN — Yarn manufacturers at last month's Filo fair upped the ante on fantasy by showcasing natural fibers blended with shiny and metal-like synthetic yarns.

Executives said the fall-winter 2008-2009 yarn collections at the show held here at the Centro Congressi Stelline reflected the state of the Italian yarn industry. According to SMI-ATI — the Italian federation of fashion, clothing and textile industries — Italian yarn sales in 2006 grew 1.3 percent to hit 3.5 billion euros, or $4.39 billion at average exchange. Executives at the fair also reported solid sales for the first three months of this year.

"Last year went quite well and the signs are looking good for this year," said Giampiero Bagna, chief executive officer of Vimar 1991. "Some of our big American customers, St. John and Talbots, have increased their budgets."

For fall, Vimar 1991 showed a printed wool tweed yarn, a nylon yarn spun with a flocked black polkadot, white tulle and gold Lurex ribbon.

"Clients are asking for fantasy again," Bagna said. "That's a sign the market is back on track."

Iafil also presented natural and synthetic combinations like Metallika, a wool and alpaca fiber base covered with a glossy viscose yarn, and Aqua, a wool and alpaca blend with a polyester fiber to give a wet-look finish.

"We sold so much alpaca last year we decided to reshow it, but this time with a high-quality synthetic yarn to give different finishes," said Ales Rigamonti, Iafil's product manager.

Silk yarn manufacturer Ongetta showed silk blends with shiny, satin and moulinex effects. A new yarn with a silk core was wrapped with an ultrafine nylon yarn for a mirror-like finish in canary yellow, oxford blue and forest green. Andrea Ongetta, president of the Treviso-based spinner, said the show was busy, which he accounted to "textile mills returning to European yarn producers for more special product."

At Botto Poala, a cashmere and wool blend tweed yarn was woven deliberately with irregularity to show off tone-on-tone color effects and give a bumpy texture. The Biella-based spinner also showed 17-micron wool yarn with a cashmere hand.

"The climate for our industry is good," said sales manager Stefano Botto Poala. "Our stock service is working particularly well."Also focusing on its stock service was Brescia-based firm Filmar. Director Enrico Marzoli said the year-old stock service of cotton yarns had been expanded to 186 colors, including trend colors of the season such as pale gray blue and salmon. Filmar displayed an organic cotton yarn and a bamboo and viscose blend. Marzoli said the company closed last year with a 10 percent increase on 2005, to hit sales of 43 million euros, or $54 million.

"We believe the stock service really pushed our growth," he said. "It's the key to doing good business."

Maclodio Filati also reorganized its stock service to better serve its customers. The spinner came to the fair with a new catalogue of 11 yarns in 24 counts and 218 colors. "We spent a lot of money constructing warehouse space to keep all of the stock service yarn, but it was absolutely necessary to do it," said Andrea Ghio, area manager of Maclodio Filati. "Clients want speedy deliveries."

Ghio said the company had already seen sales from the new stock service, which was introduced in January. "This is the only way you can work today," he said. "Orders are being placed later and later, stock service enables our clients to get yarn on demand."

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