FLORENCE — Encouraging signs of recovery were registered at the three-day Pitti Filati yarn fair, as spinners used innovation to spur sales at home and abroad.
“The mood is extremely positive,” said Cariaggi director Cristiana Cariaggi. “Compared to the last season, we see more Italian and more international buyers.”
According to fair organizer Pitti Immagine, the number of buyers who visited the three-day show that closed July 4 increased 8.5 percent compared with July 2013 to 5,200 visitors. In particular, the number of international and Italian buyers grew 10 and 7 percent, respectively.
“We are quite satisfied with the feedback coming from the different markets,” said Botto Giuseppe chief executive officer Silvio Botto Poala. “The Far East, Japan, Hong Kong and Italy are recovering. The U.S. is performing well, even though the strong euro is penalizing our exports there.”
As highlighted by a study conducted by the Research Center of the country’s industry association Confindustria, first-half exports of Italian textile products increased 6 percent, with goods shipped to Europe and non-European countries up 10.4 and 1.1 percent, respectively.
The positive trend should continue in the second half, according to Italian fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia, which forecasts that the total production of the country’s textile sector will increase 3.1 percent.
Among the factors enabling a certain stability to the yarn market, the spinners who presented their fall 2015 collections at Pitti Filati cited a diminished fluctuation in the price of raw materials. However, the price of superfine wool fibers slightly decreased, “due to an overproduction in Australia,” said Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia marketing manager and fashion coordinator Paola Rossi. Also an exception, the cost of alpaca and mohair fibers “increased about $10 a kilo,” said Chiara Taddeucci Sassolini, head of the design team and responsible for trend research at Lanificio dell’Olivo.
Luxury touches and high-end performance were at the core of the offering of most of the exhibitors, including Tollegno 1900, which introduced two innovative cashmere products. At Pitti Filati, the Biella-based company launched New Cashmere, a carded yarn realized with the extremely thin cashmere fibers of a rare breed of goats living in Alashan, an area in Central Mongolia characterized by rigid temperatures. The fibers are treated in Mongolia using Italian machineries guaranteeing lightweight yet warm yarns with a shiny look.
Using a patented technology developed in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong, Tollegno 1900 also introduced Nanocashmere, a cashmere yarn wherein the fibers’ molecules are protected with structures that render the final product waterproof.
“With the University of Hong Kong, we are studying another fabric that is cleansed when exposed to the sun,” said Tollegno 1900 ceo Lincoln Germanetti, explaining that the researchers are focusing on altering the molecular movement. “These kinds of innovative products have several applications, for example in the sportswear and nautical sectors.”
Channeling one of the biggest trends at the fair, Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia put the focus on yarns that are lightweight but show a textured look. These include Thyme, a merino wool with a small percentage of polyamide chainette thread manufactured with the company’s patented Air-Spun technology, along with chunky fine wool and polyamide Supersailor designed for outerwear.
To obtain an opposite, superfine effect, Botto Poala introduced Cashmore, a wool yarn that is finer than cashmere with a soft, velvety finishing made in worsted and carded versions for an elegant or a more sporty look, respectively. The company also expanded its cashmere and silk Gold range with a product to be used with knitting machines used to manufacture seamless sweaters. Among the wide range, Botto Poala pointed at some of the key colors for the fall 2015 season, including optical and dove gray, along with hues of yellow, rich browns and blues, and light greens contrasting with reds.
Lightness also took center stage at Cariaggi. “We interpreted the theme in two different ways,” said Cristiana Cariaggi. “All extremely lightweight, we created yarns that have a thick, made-by-hand look, or which are superfine.”
To highlight the two categories, Cariaggi showed Play, a carded cashmere yarn produced using a technique that creates a hollow tubular lightweight yarn made with a silk and wool yarn. In keeping with the overall atmosphere of the collections, which were influenced by the sophisticated and rich atmosphere of the Byzantine and Ottoman cultures, Cariaggi expanded its Fantasia offering with Frisson, a cashmere and silk carded yarn embellished with sequins, along with Bouclé, a cashmere worsted yarn with an astrakhanlike effect.
The Tuscan Lanificio dell’Olivo obtained similar effects of lightness and softness by blending superfine mohair and baby alpaca fibers for its Baby Kid range available in three thicknesses.
“This search for lightness reflects a trend of the ready-to-wear business,” said Taddeucci Sassolini. “People ask for clothes that are warm, yet lightweight. But at the same time, there is a request for textured products with 3-D effects.”
Taddeucci Sassolini also highlighted the increased demand for stretch and technical yarns to be used to create fabrics that can be integrated with high-tech materials in outerwear pieces.
In order to satisfy the requests from the fashion companies “which tend to offer total looks and have the necessity to manufacture coordinated garments using the same yarns but worked in different structures,” said Botto Poala, Botto Giuseppe offered a wide range of wool yarns.
Reflecting the lifestyle of people who look for comfortable pieces that don’t crease and are easy to wash, Botto Giuseppe also continued to expand its offering of high-tech yarns that are stretch and stain-resistant and crease-free. The company also launched at Pitti Filati the Timeless collection, including three luxury yarns — superfine wool Skin that’s finer than cashmere and is pilling-resistant; Heritage, which consists of 90 percent cashmere and 10 percent vicuna, and Adore, blending cashmere with silk and guanaco hair.
Tuscan yarn spinner Filpucci emerged at the fair as one of the first companies to embrace the Caregora initiative. Following criticism on a lack of animal-breeding standards in China, Michael dal Grande of Naturfasern has decided to certify a range of breeding farms in accordance with the regulations of the European Community and the DEFRA, the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
“Seventy percent of the angora we use is Caregora,” said Filpucci vice president Federico Gualtieri, explaining that the remaining 30 percent is French angora, which is already certified by the EC.
In order to support one of the most important sectors of the Italian fashion and textile industry, Pitti Filati dedicated a space at the fair to denim. A brainchild of Luigi Guarducci, president of Prato-based denim specialist Europa, the special project, called “Denim Italiano — Italian Denim Makers,” collected works of some of the biggest players in the country’s garment-dyed supply chain.
“We had the idea to present in a different, unconventional way the entire Italian denim chain, which can face the competition coming from Turkey and Asia by continuing to focus on its high-quality and impeccable service,” Guarducci said.
In keeping with his vision, At “Denim Italiano — Italian Denim Makers,” his company Europa presented a range of high-end denim products, including 3 Twist, a patented stretch yarn guaranteeing a memory shape effect and a perfect fit.