FABRIC BLENDS SCORE HIGH AT EXPOFIL YARN FAIR IN PARIS
Byline: Chantal Goupil, with contributions from Sophie d’Aulnay
PARIS — Lycra blends and other fiber mixes were a top trend at the 34th edition of Expofil here.
Attendance at the three-day yarn fair, which ran through Dec. 7, got clobbered by the wave of nationwide transportation strikes that hit France this month. Several exhibitors were disappointed with the traffic, with attendance dropping more than 30 percent to 3,531. Of the 1,189 foreigners who showed up, only 19 were Americans, compared to 22 last year.
Still, Philippe Pasquet, secretary general of Expofil, said, “The visitors who made it to the show were very serious.” The situation also gave exhibitors more time to work with the buyers, he said, allowing them “to work in depth.”
Reflecting the trend to blends, Italian firm Loro Piana showed Lycra blended with cashmere or silk.
“Three or four seasons ago it was impossible to sell, but today, it’s very popular,” says Luciano Bandi, the yarn division managing director. “In the past, we had more yarns but now we want to show that we can obtain very different looks by blending different yarns together instead of using more of them.”
Other mills combined Lycra with such fibers as cotton and viscose. Acrylic, cotton and viscose formed another blend that turned up at the fair.
Enzo Denti, owner of Idea’s Filati, an Italian newcomer to the fair, saw the interest in blends as a function of an uncertain market.
“For us, buyers seem worried about getting orders from their customers,” Denti said. “They really don’t know what they want. The reality is that there is no demand. It’s not a question of price or quality or yarn, it’s a question of market. Buyers are not interested in basic yarns.
“They prefer to have some synthetic in the blend,” he said. “Textured yarns in different mixed colors work best.”
His firm showed high-twist yarns with blends of acrylic, viscose and cotton in shades of pearl grays and blues.
The palette generally at the fair was full of tropical brights, with lots of clear sea blues and greens as well as a batch of fruity tones of orange and yellow.
Among other offerings, British supplier Daniel Illingworth & Sons launched a Teflon-coated yarn. The Teflon, said sales director Roger W. Shepley, “surrounds each fiber and acts as an invisible protection, providing maximum water repellency,”
He noted the product is aimed particularly at outdoor clothes and sportswear.