Filo Spins an Upbeat Yarn

At Milan yarn fair, Italian mills get creative for growth.

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WWDStyle issue 04/12/2011

MILAN — During the opening press conference of the 35th edition of Filo, Luciano Donatelli, president of Biella Industrial Union, indicated the formula to fight the challenges of the market.

This story first appeared in the April 12, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Creativity and technological innovation are the lifeblood for growth,” said Donatelli. “If the market is not stimulated with new products, there is no evolution, and to quickly change the offer represents the main way to encourage spending.”

The imbalance between supply and demand of raw materials and the consequent price increases were pointed to as the biggest difficulties for the sector, which is still registering better results after a difficult 2009. According to SMI-ATI, the Italian federation of fashion, clothing and textile industries, imports increased 9.4 percent and exports gained 14 percent in 2010.

Compared with the last edition, attendance at the show was flat at 2,500 visitors.

“Generally speaking, during these fairs companies don’t sell anymore,” said Nicoletta Meriglio, development manager at Botto Poala. “They are more an occasion to meet people and show the face of the brand. I think that the sector will need to find out a new formula for the future.”

The Biella-based company presented the new Supermélange, in which mercerized and superfine wools are treated with a technology that permits it to obtain a wide range of mélange colors, including eight different shades of gray. In addition, the company enlarged the offer of its classic Wool Silk, wool and silk blends that are now available in a rich variety of tones and finishes that take advantage of silk’s shiny effects.

An eco-friendly philosophy was shown at Brescia-based Monticolor. The company, which saw earnings jump 40 percent in 2010, is developing innovative “green” yarns created from recycled materials.

“We are presenting Riciclo Filo, a yarn line that combines organic cottons with PET polyester coming from recycled plastic bottles,” explained Massimo Fenu, head of global sales. “We think that nowadays it’s getting extremely important to pay more attention to the environment.”

Milan-based Iafil opted for neutral hues and a clean, minimal approach to yarns.

“We worked on the theme of purity, treating the fibers to obtain several finishes and nuances,” said product manager Ales Rigamonti.

For next winter, Iafil focused on supersoft alpaca using 100 percent natural fleeces. Considering the company’s core business, it also presented an array of cotton yarns, from classic smooth types to more edgy versions. They include “a colored cotton yarn which is impregnated with colored polyurethane to obtain a very modern blend of two different shades,” Rigamonti said.

Gino Menoncin, Iafil’s head of Italian sales, added, “Even if winter is not our strong season, because 95 of our business is linked to summer products, our expectations are good. Referring to the first months of 2011, we can say that knitwear is still showing last year’s positive trend.”

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