Tollegno 1900's Harmony textile.

MILAN — For the 83rd edition of Pitti Filati, yarn makers are banking on the quality and innovation of their products to trump international difficulties.

The wave of cautious positivity that began in January is expected to find confirmation in the upcoming edition of the three-day textile trade show, which opens today in Florence to showcase the fall 2019 collections of 129 spinners.

Lincoln Germanetti, chief executive officer of Tollegno Holding — comprising Tollegno 1900 SpA and Manifattura di Valduggia SpA believes “the value of our work and the quality of our products and service, which clients know and appreciate,” will help fend off duties on exports and currency fluctuations.

Among the threats, the increasing cost of raw fibers — wool, mohair and yak, especially — is the prime one for the Biella-based wool specialist, impacting “a series of strategies and decisions which are essential for our business.”

“Our [financial] results have always improved year-on-year, even in adverse circumstances,” continued Germanetti, forecasting a further increase in 2018 thanks “to the constant research on fibers and production processes. We want to enhance the efficiency of our machinery to offer an ever higher quality.”

At the trade show, Tollegno 1900 will present the innovative Harmony 4.0 yarn, 100 percent made of extrafine Merino wool that has gone through four treatments to enhance its performance and functionality. Among these, the Compact process makes the yarn more resistant; the High Twist treatment intensifies the wringing to prevent fibers from pilling, while the Eco Idro one makes the yarn waterproof.

Along with the standout Harmony 4.0, the spinner’s fall collection will include blends of Merino wool and nylon, as the Harmony Astrakan and the Harmony Air yarns, and untreated wool options as the “Explorer” addition to the “Wild Scout” textile category conceived for casual or sporty garments.

Tollegno 1900's Harmony textiles.

Tollegno 1900’s Harmony textiles.  Courtesy Photo

“The cost of raw fibers is an important element, but we believe our clients know these dynamics and can handle them,” said Lanificio dell’Olivo’s commercial director Fabio Campana, mentioning exchange-rate fluctuations among the general threats.

The company, whose majority stake was acquired by the Gradiente Sgr fund in 2015, will present its first textile collection since the exit of sisters Ilaria and Chiara Taddeucci from their family business.

“The collection has been widely renovated,” said Campana, underscoring that for the first time the spinner has introduced yarns in cashmere in its range, offered in bright and bold color tones.

Cashmere will also take center stage in Cariaggi’s textile collection, especially in combination with other fibers, as silk. This particular blend is offered in the Voluta combed yarn, made of different, vivid tones of cashmere threads and worked to sport bouclé effects. A soft and voluminous option is also offered by the 100 percent cashmere yarn Moss, made of high-quality fibers sourced from Inner Mongolia’s goats.

Cariaggi's Voluta textile.

Cariaggi’s Voluta textile.  Courtesy Photo

Based in Cagli, in Italy’s Marche region, Cariaggi totaled 88 million euros in sales last year. The spinner’s managing director Cristiana Cariaggi is upbeat for the performance in the first quarter of 2018 and expects “interest, attention and an increasing attendance of Italian buyers, too,” at the upcoming edition of Pitti Filati.

In January, the fair drew 4,350 buyers, 1,800 of whom were from abroad. The number of international buyers was up 1 percent while Italian visitors were down 2 percent compared to Pitti Filati’s January edition in 2017. In particular, buyers coming from France, the U.S. and Switzerland were up 5 percent, 18.5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

For this edition, Botto Giuseppe’s chief executive officer Silvio Botto Poala expects a high attendance from Japanese and German buyers, in addition to American and French ones.

Nevertheless, contrary to his fellow yarn makers, Botto Poala sports a more cautious approach regarding the increasing cost of fibers, underscoring this will be “an essential point of discussion and we will see in the next three months how clients will react to this.”

“The dollar rate is now stronger, but by the end of the year this could be weak again, we can’t know it for sure. Europe is living a moment of uncertainty and our economy has not registered an increase as the American one, plus the addition of fiscal measures as duties is not helping the overall economic and currency stability.”

Botto Giuseppe will once again focus on sustainability, expanding its Naturalis Fibra collection that is produced in the company’s Tarcento plant featuring solar panels and hydroelectric power.

Overall, the spinner’s offering will include noble fibers such as cashmere and wool crafted in lightweight yarns and embellished by shimmering details as micro-sequins and Lurex elements.

Flanking the trade show hosted at the 215,278-square-foot Fortezza da Basso venue, Hong Kong-based UPW will showcase its fall 2019 yarn collection in the Aria art gallery, housed in the Giardino Rosselli del Turco tropical garden, in central Florence.

“Business is very good at the moment, as customers seek to increase the amount of yarns that they buy for fall, after a few seasons of being more cautious,” said the company’s creative director Stephen Trigg.

“We are very positive about the new [collection] as we have some strong messages to get across,” he continued, underscoring how the company will showcase recycled wool and cashmere fibers as it keeps developing combinations of noble yarns with man-made technologies.

“Classic luxury knitwear can now have more interesting messages to tell, as the luxury market shifts from being less about excess into being more about well-being and being responsible,” said Trigg. Case in point, UPW will introduce a collection made of yak fibers sourced from Tibet, where the company contributes 1 percent of its revenue back to the yak herders via a fund that finances health-care and education programs.

“So that’s not just talking about social responsibility, but actually funding it. Initiatives like this are really the way forward as everyone needs to work toward a more circular textile economy.…The overwhelming influence is [of] customers wanting to know more about the fibers that make up the yarns. It is reassuring to see an interest in responsible sourcing across all market levels.”

In keeping with the overall cashmere trend, UPW will launch its own traceable version, with fibers sourced from four regions of Inner Mongolia. “This means that we can trace the fibers all the way through our production process to the end cone, and therefore ultimately to the individual sweater. This is a major innovation for us, because with UPW being stock service it means that customers, however small, can have product that fits into the major movement to traceable and sustainable fibers,” concluded Trigg.