Pitti Filati.

MILAN — Quality, service and sustainability are the key ingredients Italian yarn makers are banking on to overcome international difficulties and serving at the 84th edition of Pitti Filati, opening today.

The Florence-based, three-day textile trade show will count 119 exhibitors, 14 of which come from abroad, showcasing their spring 2020 collections over a 215,278-square-foot surface at the Fortezza da Basso venue.

“Demanding quality and service is a recurrent [theme] for all of our clients, across the world,” said Lincoln Germanetti, chief executive officer of Biella-based Tollegno Holding, comprising Tollegno 1900 SpA and Manifattura di Valduggia SpA. “This [demand] translates into increasing our performance by reducing waste, as the world is getting more and more interested in sustainability.”

To this end, at Pitti Filati the company will introduce its “Virtual Yarn” project, optimizing its operations by providing clients “a high-end service offering more precision, less waste and a reduction in costs and time.”

Through technology made by Shima Seiki, Tollegno 1900’s clients will be able to create their fabrics digitally, before proceeding with the order. The digital service will enable a significant cost-cutting and reduction of waste and time, with sustainable consequences, as it won’t be necessary for the company to send yarns, color cards and cones to its clients to check if these elements meet their expectations. The breadth of different combinations — from yarn types and colors to the processing techniques — will also favor the customization of the creations, tailored to the needs of each client.

A high-tech workstation showing how the digital system operates will be set at Tollegno 1900’s booth at the fair.

“Regarding our production, we’re working on reengineering our processes to offer an even higher quality trying to absorb the costs of raw materials, which I’m afraid will continue to increase,” said Germanetti, adding that he hopes “the price of wool stabilizes so we can look at the future with a little tranquility and make new investments.”

Other issues concerning Germanetti are the duties on exports and currency fluctuations that the unstable situation between the U.S. and China may cause.

“Our industry is facing a delicate moment,” echoed Lanificio dell’Olivo’s general director Fabio Campana addressing the situation between the two countries. “It’s hard to predict the macro-economic trend of 2019 but for what concerns apparel, we expect a robust increase in awareness towards sustainability and circular economy.”

The Italian company, which has been controlled by the Gradiente Sgr fund since 2015, is gearing to meet this demand by presenting a sustainable collection focusing on recycled and organic cotton, hemp and viscose fibers. The digital trend informs the color palette, as yarns undergo metallic and satin treatments in violet and iridescent hues.

In addition, starting from this season, Lanificio dell’Olivo will expand the number of yarns and colors available in stock to enhance the service offered to their clients and speed up deliveries.

“Clients are increasingly looking for a top service, and we’re doing our best to meet their expectations,” said Campana, underscoring that product-wise “we feel the urge to offer creativity and uniqueness, but also to develop a product that is reliable in its simplicity: In this moment nobody can afford to make mistakes.”

Botto Giuseppe’s chief executive officer Silvio Botto Poala also preached prudence for 2019 due to “a European economic slowdown, the war of export duties, post-Brexit effects and the new European parliament elections.”

The company will continue to focus on sustainability, showcasing yarns obtained through traceable and transparent production, including its signature Naturalis Fibra collection and Slowsilk, a sustainable and cruelty-free Indian silk made in Botto Giuseppe’s Tarcento, Italy, plant by using renewable energy only and certified colorations with little environmental impact.

Along with sustainability, which “provides clients with an added value that goes beyond the look and design of a textile,” Botto Poala identifies in the activewear the second macro-trend for the season, with waterproof, easy-care and stretch features enhancing the performance and wearability of each item.

Filpucci will also focus on sustainability presenting 15 new eco-yarns out of a collection of 50 offerings at Pitti Filati. Innovations include the Haiku 4800 organic cotton; the Bionyco XL 2500 organic Mako cotton mixed with recycled polyamide fibers and the Tela 2500 mix of organic cotton and Lyocell, sporting a rough appearance that’s ideal to make thick yet fresh knitwear.

Taking inspiration from the digital world, Filpucci’s offering is also peppered with hybrids of natural and artificial fibers donning shantung effects, metallic spraying and semi-transparencies.

Offering innovative solutions is key for the company’s president Federico Gualtieri, especially considering the industry’s “difficult situation due to a reduction in the apparel consumption.” Nevertheless, Gualtieri expects Filpucci’s revenues, which totaled 34 million euros last year, to grow from between 5 and 10 percent in 2019.

Conversely to her fellow spinners, Cristiana Cariaggi, managing director of the Cagli, Italy-based Cariaggi company, has a more optimistic approach as she noticed “great interest for Made in Italy [products.]”

Her attitude is supported by the performance of the company in 2018, as sales increased 17 percent from 88 million euros in the previous year.

The mill’s positive moment will be reflected in its spring 2020 collection, emphasizing the natural lightness of cashmere and turning it into increasingly fine ply with shining effects created by Lurex sparkles and micro-sequins. Examples include the Magic combed yarn, blending 70 percent cashmere with 30 percent of silk and embellished with micro-sequins, and the Euphoria combed yarn with a crepe effect, which mixes Belize cotton and silk to deliver a sequin-embellished, luminous result.

The last edition of Pitti Filati in June attracted almost 5,500 visitors, 2,900 of whom were from outside Italy. In particular, those coming from Russia, China and South Korea increased 16 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Significant performances were also registered for those visiting from Eastern and Northern Europe, Turkey and Hong Kong, but the most encouraging figure was the 5 percent increase in Italian buyers, after a drop in attendance at the previous two editions.