Pitti Filati.

MILAN — Sustainability is here to stay.

What was once considered a trend or a marketing tool to appeal to customers has proved to be a crucial path to follow for the fashion industry, starting from the top of its production chain — the yarn makers.

Textile houses increasingly spotlighted eco-friendly features in the collections they presented over the recent editions of Pitti Filati, and the upcoming one is set to make no exception.

Running Jan. 24-26, the Florence-based textile trade show will count 112 exhibitors, 16 of which come from abroad, over a 215,278-square-foot surface at the Fortezza da Basso venue.

Many spinners talked about heightened attention to the environment and a renovated sensibility toward the planet, including the return of the use of natural fibers, as key features in conceiving their spring 2019 textile collections. In addition, multiseasonality emerged as a necessary asset to adapt to ongoing climatic changes and to customers’ demands.

“We will present 10 new yarns, created respecting sustainable principles,” said Filpucci’s president Federico Gualtieri. Among these, the company will introduce the Cera yarn, 100 percent made of Cupro, a natural, biodegradable fiber obtained from cotton scraps and converted into a quality derivative through technological processes. The color palette will reflect the sensibility toward the environment, featuring “natural tones and a range of rough cream and ivory nuances, with raspberry and currant-hued accents,” said Gualtieri.

At Botto Giuseppe, sustainability is equivalent to new luxury. The company will expand its Naturalis Fibra collection, produced in its Friuli, Italy plant by using sustainable energy only. A new bio-linen and Slowsilk, a sustainable and cruelty-free silk, will be added to the wool and cashmere-based textiles presented at Pitti Filati last July.

“Sustainability and traceability are two key assets, requested by many clients, which are still trying to figure out how to use these features in the most correct way,” said Botto Giuseppe’s chief executive officer Silvio Botto Poala.

Fueled by what is shown on fashion catwalks, sportswear and ath-leisure are also an evolving macro-trend.

“Many clients are looking for more comfortable and easy-to-wear garments,” commented Botto Poala, who noticed that even in sportswear synthetic fibers are passing the baton to natural ones, mentioning a superfine, washable and waterproof kind of wool developed by his company, among others.

Biella-based Tollegno 1900 will undertake a back-to-basic journey at Pitti Filati, presenting a raw collection focusing on enhancing the essential features of natural yarns.

Promoting multiseasonal textiles, Tollegno 1900 will showcase Woolcot, a blend of extra-fine Merino wool and cotton — 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively — which quickly adapts to climatic changes, and Cottonwool, in which the cotton plays the dominant role for a rougher look. Offered in 36 different hues, the medium-light blend of linen and Merino wool Flaxwool will complete the offer.

References to the planet pepper the color palette, which ranges from earthy tones as ochre, sandy beige and brick, to intense blue and green.

Also on display, the #24hourworkandleisure line showcasing the company’s signature Merino wool, treated and covered by a Teflon fabric protector — which creates an ultrathin barrier on each fiber, protecting them from water and oil stains — will be available in blue and white or yellow and turquoise color combinations.

“In the last couple of years, the appeal of the Merino wool has increased,” said Lincoln Germanetti, ceo of Tollegno Holding — comprising Tollegno 1900 SpA and Manifattura di Valduggia SpA — adding that this caused “a gradual and constant increase in terms of costs, as the market’s demand quickly grew but the offer couldn’t keep the pace.” For this reason, both Germanetti and Botto Poala contended that the industry is facing a difficult moment.

A more optimistic approach was taken by Cristiana Cariaggi, managing director of the Cariaggi company, based in Cagli, in Italy’s Marche region.

“The year started on a positive note, there’s a good energy initiated by Pitti Uomo and I believe the market is recovering,” said Cariaggi, emphasizing a dynamic situation both in Italy and abroad.

The company will also focus on natural fibers, as these are what the market is demanding, according to the executive. At Cariaggi’s stand there won’t only be variations of cashmere lightweight textiles — as the 100 percent cashmere 2/46 Melange offering — but linen and hemp will also make an appearance. Lightness is the key word of the collection, which will play with different levels of transparency and volume to respond to the current layering trend, both due by climatic requirements and stylistic choices.

The color palette will comprise both pastel tones, enhancing the sense of lightness and sophistication, and bright hues, which will be further embellished by the application of micro-sequins, as in the case of the Gritty worsted yarn, a blend of cashmere, silk and Lurex threads.

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

UPW’s creative director Stephen Trigg said the company’s interest for the season was “rediscovering and understanding our planet…both as a rich source of color and texture inspiration,” in addition to making “social and ecological considerations when sourcing fibers. We champion a new respect for the environment.”

As a result, the collection is divided in three parts — the Eco group, which focuses on the environment; the wellness group, which comprises feel-good yarns, and the unique group, with more elaborate offerings. Along with upgraded natural fibers, UPW will elevate quality man-made fibers with functional properties centered on protection and well-being.

Trigg also confirmed customers’ demand for knitwear lines suitable for all climates. “These transeasonal yarns blend cottons and wools, along with gentle performance and functional fibers to make easy-wear knitwear, as comfort remains key.” “There is a smarter look to knitwear, which is reflected in cleaner, more defined yarns, where casualwear and athleisure become more luxe,” he concluded.