MILAN — Comfortable elegance and sustainability are expected to be the keywords at the 27th edition of Milano Unica.
Natural stretch fabrics, fluorine-free finishing treatments, tactile textures and intriguing shiny and matte combinations are among the main trends that will be seen at the fair, which opens here Tuesday and runs for three days.
“For the fall/winter 2019 season, the focus will be on both our Luxury line and on our stretch 3D wool,” said Lincoln Germanetti, chief executive officer of Tollegno Holding, which closed 2017 with revenues of 172 million euros, up 10 percent compared to the previous year. “In the Luxury line we have introduced the ‘airy’ finishing, defined by more matte and fluffy effects, as well as outerwear fabrics with felted finishing, which are treated to be water-repellent.”
At the same time, Tollegno 1900 is expanding its 3D Wool collection, which now includes 56 options of stretch wool, spanning from solid tones to multicolored motifs.
“Stretch cashmere is the centerpiece of our collection, which was updated with the introduction of double-face jacquard and mélange fabrics specifically designed for coats,” said Botto Giuseppe ceo Silvio Botto Poala, who also cited waterproof and breathable outerwear technical fabrics among the new collection’s highlights.
At the same time, Botto Giuseppe, which in 2018 expects to register a 10 percent increase in revenues compared to 2017, continues to bet on sustainability by expanding its Naturalis Fibra collection with Natural Born Cashmere. This is a cashmere fabric presented in a natural tone, crafted from traceable and mulesing-free fibers coming from selected farms across Asia and Oceania and worked in Botto’s Cascami Seta factory located in Tarcento, in Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia region.
“In the next three or five years, our goal is to produce only 100 percent traceable and sustainable fabrics,” said Luca Trabaldo Togna, president of Biella-based luxury textile company Trabaldo Togna. “We are focused on improving the performance of our products and this has to be done by improving their ethical value at the same time.”
The company, which produces over 59 million inches of fabrics a year, is currently working to further elevate the quality of its Estrato line, which includes wool and cashmere fabrics that, through innovative, high-tech processes, are made naturally stretchy without the addition of any synthetic fibers. Blends of wool and silk, as well as wool and mohair, are also available in the fall 2019 collection.
Natural stretch fabrics also take center stage in the Vitale Barberis Canonico’s Supersonic line, consisting of waterproof products, treated with fluorine-free techniques, which are designed to be used in travel-friendly suits.
Along with this offering of lightweight fabrics, Vitale Barberis Canonico, which according to its ceo Alessandro Barberis Canonico expects to close 2018 with revenues up 5 percent compared to the previous year, is also presenting a range of heavier wool products conceived to create soft and tactile suits, blazers and coats.
Comfort, performance and a sophisticated look are pivotal in the collection of Veneto-based shirting fabric specialist Tessitura Monti.
The company, which after the exit of former ceo Luca Balenghi is currently managed by executive vice presidents Manuel and Bruno Monti, is presenting at Milano Unica a collection of fabrics spanning from ultralightweight yet compact items to heavier options, which are softened with the introduction of gauze effects. Cotton is sometimes combined with luxury fibers, including wool and cashmere, as well as natural ones, such as eco-friendly micro Tencel. The color palette is focused on medium and light tones, spanning from pink, green, and yellow to orange, which are juxtaposed with pastels and darker tones of blue combined with white.
While the business of Tessitura Monti, which mainly uses cotton, hasn’t been affected by the higher cost of raw materials, textile companies using other types of fibers, in particular wool and cashmere, have been impacted and have needed to raise their prices.
“The increased price of raw materials had a strong impact on our business and we had to apply a 6.5 percent and 6 percent increase on the summer and winter price lists, respectively,” said Barberis Canonico, who also lamented that the strong euro made the situation even more difficult in the American market. “Of course, the higher prices of raw materials are highly impacting the sell-out of stores and brands.”
The only way to face the challenge is “optimizing our production processes to increase the margins of our fabrics and yarns and, at the same time, further increase the already high-end quality of our products,” Germanetti said. “This is the only way to have our clients recognize the added value of our products and at the same time tackle these higher and higher costs.”
This edition of Milano Unica will be key to see if clients will accept higher prices, according to Botto Poala. “We don’t know if our clients will be able to transfer these increased costs on final customers so they might look for cheaper products to keep their prices.”
But Trabaldo Togna said that the increased cost of raw materials “is something normal and right.” In particular, he put the focus on the poor and difficult conditions of the farmers in Australia and New Zealand. “That’s a really tough job and it’s absolutely fair they manage to earn a little bit more,” he said. “And let’s be honest, if we consider a wool suit, the total increase in terms of fabric would be of 20 euros — and I talk about a suit which retails at 2,000 euros. It’s nothing. The industry should be aware of this and should stop complaining. The real big question is if a brand spends 70 euros to buy the fabric for a suit and then it sells at 2,000 euros. Where do those 1,430 euros go? Are we sure brands cannot afford that 20 euros increase?”