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Filo Yarn Fair Scores on Innovation

Attendance uptick spurs confidence at Filo.

MILAN — Yarn manufacturers exhibiting at the 31st edition of Filo pushed new approaches in an effort to fight the pressures of the economic crisis.

This story first appeared in the April 7, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A 7 percent increase in exhibitor attendance to 2,700 people boosted spirits for many at the two-day fair that ended March 19. Paolo Monfermoso, Filo’s project manager, said the “fair was holding its own.”

Exhibitors responded to the downturn with innovative product and “previously untried formulas,” Monfermoso said.

The lineup of 80 exhibitors emphasized casual yarns and a more restrained luxury offering. New metallic shades such as copper were presented without excessive brilliance. Vendors also continued to push blends of natural fibers with viscose and modal yarns.

Giovanni Tessari, Lurex’s marketing director, acknowledged the high end of the market was experiencing continuing difficulty. However, Tessari said the company intends to keep developing yarns to entice buyers.

Trans-polyester fibers that can be dyed and overdyed in shades such as browns, purples and violets were on show from Lurex. Foil-effect yarns were on display, but without the former gold and silver color palette, which Tessari explained is now “too linked to the concept of luxury.”

Como-based Trendfil offered a similar range of metallic polyester yarns that could be blended with silk and wool, giving the natural fibers a higher fashion look.

“Softer metallic shades were right for the market at the moment,” said Francesco Boselli, general manager at Trendfil, adding that brightness rather than shine were what buyers were after.

At FFM, the French company was exhibiting for the first time under the Safil name, the Biella-based business that took over FFM in November. With production now shifted to Safil’s Bulgaria factories, FFM exhibited a range of mohair and fancy yarns along with a new “superkid cape mohair” created specifically for humid Asian summers.

Dominique Carpentier, FFM’s commercial director, noted that buyer attendance was predominantly made up of Italians, with almost no Americans.

The U.S. market was also a concern for Marchi & Fildi. Caternia Dissegna, director of the company, said American buyers used to be “big business” for the mill, but the weak dollar has chased much of that business away. However, with exchange rates improving, Dissegna hoped to “regain a part of the market again.”