MILAN — Showing resilience and hope seemed to be the mantra for textile-makers showing at the latest edition of Première Vision Paris, which closed its weeklong digital-only event on Feb. 19.
Bringing together everything under one website, the fair regrouped the previously separate sites for the denim and New York shows, offering a wide-ranging experience for buyers and designers. Overall, the Première Vision Paris marketplace hosted collections from more than 1,500 brands, offering a catalogue of 50,000 products.
Over at Texworld Evolution Paris Le Showroom, organizers were able to host a showroom-like presentation by-appointment only that allowed around 500 buyers and visitors to enjoy IRL the catalogue of 2,500 products displayed by 75 companies.
According to figures released by Première Vision Paris, the digital fair — fine-tuned and made easier to navigate compared to September — generated 35,000 interactions from buyers and visitors hailing from 110 countries, with France, the U.K., Italy and the U.S. topping the list.
The general consensus among exhibitors is that 2021 opened on an uncertain note, despite a few exceptions including the Iluna Group, a specialist in the production of stretch lace for the apparel and innerwear industries, which forecast this year will see a rebound and revenues will get back to pre-pandemic levels.
In order to dodge the worst, fabric-makers pressed on with digital transformation and sustainability.
“In the wake of multiple lockdowns in different countries digital commerce came to the fore along with new consumption habits, which have forced us to rethink our go-to-market strategies in terms of timing and tools,” said Stefano Albini, chief executive officer of Italian cotton specialist Albini Group.
While the Bergamo, Italy-based company has relied on several trade show marketplaces including Milano Unica, Première Vision and Kingpins, it’s also set up its own virtual showroom, like other competitors did over the past year, and also held in-person appointments in key international cities.
Similarly, Furio Annovazzi, CEO of the Iluna Group, cited digital transformation and the company’s e-commerce as pivotal in facing the unprecedented year.
On a more optimistic note, denim specialists are pressing on, probably as jeans are one of the main options to sweatpants while working from home. Flavio Berto, CEO of Berto, has been experiencing a rebound since late 2020, attributing the success of the mill to its nimble structure that has allowed it to align production to customer demand.
Similarly, Paolo Gnutti, CEO of PG Denim, noted the company registered a 10 percent sales increase in 2020 versus 2019, but he was cautious about getting back to normal. “The spring 2022 season is not going to have an easy life on the global market, except for Asia, which is performing very well,” he said.
The APAC region, particularly China, is the bright spot for Eastman’s Naia, a division of the Kingsport, Tenn.-based materials manufacturing company, which produces the bio-based Naia cellulosic filament yarn.
Eastman’s global marketing director Ruth Farrell said “the current context is a challenge, but it also creates an opportunity to reinvent common approaches, boost our creativity and accelerate the focus on sustainable fashion,” bringing to light another key trend seen at Première Vision as well as in the overall textile market.
As end customers have generally cut back on their fashion expenses, textile designs tended to skew toward a conservative and reassuring approach. Mills offered tactile, cozy and fluid wools, offered in lighter weights to hug the body for more relaxed and loungewear-inspired suiting, while feminine silk and viscose blends were enriched by precious finishings such as metallic glints, and lace came in shimmering iterations.
An organic and rustic feel took center stage at the show, with linen and hemp appearing in several collections. Men’s suits and shirts crafted from linen were yarn-dyed, while windowpane checks and stripes exuded a countryside vibe. Denim suppliers took a bolder route, reassured by the good performance of the category, with embroideries, jacquards and washed-out nuances stealing the spotlight.
WWD deep-dived on the Première Vision Paris marketplace to highlight the most innovative textiles and key trends for the spring 2022 season.
TRACEABLE COTTON: A premium provider of eco-friendly solutions, Albini Group offered its Biofusion line of organic cotton that is fully traceable thanks to a close relationship with the U.S. farms providing the raw material. In particular, the firm has forged ties with farmers in Texas, New Mexico and California for the plantation of Supima extra-long staple cotton and Upland, a long fiber and high-quality cotton traceable, according to forensic company Oritain. Suitable for a total look, at a time when formal shirting is losing steam, the traceable cotton can be used for suits and pants, as well as shirts offered in pastel-toned and earthy-hued stripes and checks, a trend also seen at Milano Unica.
SUSTAINABLE KNITWEAR: Eastman Naia brought to Première Vision Paris its innovation introduced late last year Naia Renew, a blend of 60 percent cellulosic fiber derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp and 40 percent recycled plastic waste. It also expanded its signature Naia fiber to the knitwear category boasting a silky and soft hand and breathability.
BOLD INDIGO: Indigo specialist PG Denim went bold and daring with flock options dyed with natural indigo and color versions crafted from an Organic Content Standard-certified cotton treated with metal-free, natural dyes. By partnering with Eurotessile, PG Denim introduced a recycled denim made of ring-spun yarns, while in tune with the times and the surge in demand for antiviral fabrics, the mill struck a deal with Polygiene for a range of antibacterial and odor-control indigo fabrics.
PERFORMANCE DENIM: Among the key innovations Berto introduced for spring 2022, a performance-driven denim option combined the Aquafil’s man-made Dryarn weft thread with cotton. The former improves the fabric’s performances providing lightness, breathability and fast drying, in tune with customer demand for easy-care options. The overall collection blended cotton with synthetic fibers for an extra dose of comfort, nodding to sportswear and technical materials.
FLAMBOYANT LACE: Iluna Group introduced the first flock lace that is Global Recycled Standard-certified. Crafted from a blend of Fulgar’s Q-Nova polyamide that comes from pre-consumer recycled fibers and of Roica’s recycled premium stretch yarns, it is offered in a variety of options that brands and retailers can customize, including graphic motif and wild-animal patterns rendered in vibrant and pop-tinged hues. As part of its Bioline range, the company upped the ante on the circular economy, offering a stretch lace that biodegrades in five years without releasing harmful compounds.
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