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Knitting / Apparel

Technology Advances At Expofil

New yarns, techniques and treatments highlight styles of the future.

Technology Advances At Expofil New yarns, techniques and treatments highlight styles of the future. Expofil, held in Paris every June and December, always opens a window on the new season. The most recent edition of the fair ran concurrently with ITMA, and featured colors, yarns and development fabrics for Fall/Winter 2000/01. Attendance at this show broke all records, with 12,874 visitors coming from 99 countries. Latin America, with over 1,000 attendees from 13 countries, accounted for 10 percent of the international visitors, while North America had 301 visitors at the show.Arnaud Dubly of Caulliez and president of Expofil, noted that with ITMA happening at the same time, Expofils attendance increased. New Wave Yarns

Dubly said that many spinners exhibiting at Expofil cited a demand for techno yarns. Along with micro-fibers, metallics, stretch and easy care, there was interest in anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-stress, anti-static and UV-protective yarns. New yarns were shown that are retro-reflective, dissolve in water or are made from paper.One buyer at the show, Howard Silver, president of the American firm Jasco Jersey, has developed ultra-soft lightweight knitted fabrics of 100-percent extra-fine merino wool that can be machine washed at 30°C and tumble dried. After rigorous testing by Woolmark in the United Kingdom, Jascos knits are certified no to shrink or pill.Developed from yarns purchased a year ago at Expofil, Jasco is the first to out with completely machine-wash and tumble-dry knitted fabrics for cut and sew. Not one to rest on his laurels, Silver was sampling and buying yarns from some of the most innovative spinners.I like to be on the cutting edge of yarn development, he said. Jasco is a flexible company. We are constantly looking to create new products.Sylvie Tastemain, Expofil fashion director, confirmed the trend to superwash yarns. Technical yarns are one success of the season, she said. They are sought after for the comfort they provide and their easy-care properties. Ultra-fine yarns of wool, or wool blended with trilobal nylon or with steel for a glittering effect, lightweight bulky yarns and brushed and felted yarns are other directions to look for. Stonewash To Ultrasonic
Marithnd Frans Girbaud orchestrated the exhibitions audiovisual production. Frans Girbaud said: Fabrics have to do more. They must breathe, travel, be comfortable and not destroy the Earth. Weve come from stone wash to ultrasonic, laser and other new technologies. The Girbauds are working with Burlington to launch a new non-fade indigo denim.Scott Carr of Lands End, a first time Expofil visitor, said: The timing of this show is perfect for us. Next season, I want the entire design team to come to this show. This is where fashion begins. And with mills here like Jasco, I can work the show with them. Carr mentioned textured yarns, blends, Tencel®, Modal® and newly treated cotton yarns.Sidney Estreicher, director of Research and Development, Corporate Merchandising, Liz Claiborne, said that he was seeing more yarns he could relate to: There is a lot more here that is functional and wearable.Anna Tamas of Jones Apparel also mentioned technology: Fashion is catching up to technology with laser cuts and new finishing techniques. And art is becoming part of fashion. There is more individuality and fantasy.Robert Cole and Lynn Sexton of Biella purchase 90 percent of their yarns at Expofil. All of their knitting is done in Pennsylvania. Biella is sold at Nordstrom, Saks and Barneys. Cashmere, angora and stretch yarns are what they are buying. A Natural, High-Tech FiberWoolmark presented a global survey: Responding to Global Change and Competition. Led by Johann Mittermayr, European market information manager, The Woolmark Company, the research program was carried out by Kurt Salmon Associates.Some conclusions of the survey are that apparel will be increasingly segmented. Sportswear will grow the fastest, smart casual will eat into formal and active leisure into general leisure. To answer these needs, Woolmark is continuing development and promotion of its Sportswool and Sportswoolpro programs. (See A Season Of Hybrids, ATI May 1999).Referring to wool as a natural, high-tech fiber, Mittermayr noted that wool provides natural protection from cold, wind and ultra-violet rays. It is durable, crease resistant, lightweight, price competitive and easy care. At the Woolmark stand, Jasco Jerseys machine-wash/tumble-dry fabrics were on display.At Zegna Baruffa, a yarn referred to as natural elastic wool has 170-percent more stretch than standard wool yarns. The company is showing two new lines: B-Active high-performance yarns, and B-Exclusive high-end yarns spun with precious fibers.Mila Zegna Baruffa pointed out Mousse 8000, a boucle, spun with extra-fine merino and nylon. A new yarn described as like a cloud is a cashmere/silk blend. Other fine yarns blend kid mohair with new wool or merino and nylon, or extra-fine merino wool with silk or viscose.Baruffa noted that the market is moving to coarser yarns with a more rustic hand. Another look is crushed and wrinkled achieved with yarns of 75-percent extra-fine merino blended with 25-percent steel.Schoeller (Richter, N.Y.) sold a soft, fine merino wool yarn that has volume and natural elasticity. Washable wools range from ultra-fine to classic, bulky or mouline. There are high-twist, boucle and shiny yarns in wool and wool blends. There are 280 colors in stock, including moulines.St. Lievin (R&M, Philadelphia; and Richard Marks, Los Angeles) noted that stretch sells well in North America. One yarn, a blend of acrylic/wool/nylon/elastin, was knitted into a sweater on a new variable gauge machine, First 184 L21.St. Lievin sells 95 percent to the flat-knit market and five percent to socks. Kaiser Roth is one customer mentioned. Currently mohair is popular for womenswear, alpaca for menswear. Some of the heavier yarns are curled or looped to give fabrics texture. Unique CharacteristicsPaul Bonte, the techno division of St. Lieven, has created unique effect yarns for weaving, knitting and industrial end-uses. Its Chimere yarn, which is polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) based, dissolves in hot water. Relief effects and open work can be achieved using this yarn.Another yarn is retro-reflective. In apparel it is being used for special effects. Other uses include accessories and industrial items.Amalric showed development fabrics knitted with its wool/nylon yarns in combination with Chimere from Paul Bonte. The fabrics resemble crochet. Another yarn, spun with 70-percent lambs wool/30-percent opossum, is as soft as cashmere, at a much lower price. The opossum comes from New Zealand. Other yarns in this line are classic or rustic in blends of wool with alpaca, angora, acrylic or nylon.Pozzi Electra has created a new yarn of 100-percent paper. It is lightweight and can be twisted with nylon. A development fabric shown is light, crisp and semi-transparent.Other new yarns are made with a fiber called Lenpur®, distributed by Nexus. It is wood-based, 30 percent more absorbent than viscose and is a natural thermal regulator.Cotton/cashmere blends at Pozzi are popular for woven shirts. Seventy percent of the line goes into weaving. Kevlar blended with nylon or cotton and wool/cotton yarns are also popular.Reindeer hair and alpaca are combined with wool and nylon at Jaime Moix (Silk City, N.Y.). This line goes into circular knits and weaving. A lot of the apparel yarns are hairy or tweeded. Some are lightweight and bulky.Polypropylene is blended with wool and hollow-fiber nylon at Marioboselli for lightness. Black or white polypropylene combined with nylon and polyester can be dyed in a variety of heather shades. Other techno yarns are spun with carbon, microfibers or metallics.Caulliez sells to circular knitters and weavers. The company is known for dyed cotton and jaspe yarns. For hosiery there are ultra-soft ring-spun yarns of micro Modal®/cotton or micro Modal/micro acrylic. A tri-blend developed for bed linens containing micro-polyester/micro Modal/cotton has twice the absorbency of cotton.Performance and function are selling at DMC. Modal Sun, Lenzings UV-protective fiber, is popular with South American buyers. Anti-bacterial yarns are selling for athletic wear, hosiery, shirts and sheets. Anti-Static YarnsSmall amounts of aluminum or carbon are mixed with cashmere at Cariaggi (Donald Selkow) to give yarns anti-static properties. Another yarn of 80-percent cashmere/20-percent steel has a stiff, wrinkled appearance. Cashmere/nylon blends have subtle luster. Basic cashmere yarns are stocked in 90 colors with no minimums. Fancy slubbed, tweeded or printed cashmere yarns can be dyed with a minimum order of 20 kilos.A fine yarn at Edgarfil bends and wrinkles. It is spun with 52-percent copper/42-percent viscose. Another is spun with steel. Other metallic looks in this line are achieved by using nylon. Soft yarns are brushed, tweedy, bulky and light, spun in blends of kid mohair with alpaca, acrylic or nylon. Comfort-stretch yarns blend wool with Elite, a polybutylene terephalate (PBT) fiber produced by Nylstar.Patons Ltd. (Pegasus Textiles, N.Y.) also showed Elite in wool blends. Development fabrics feature comfort and recovery. The fabrics shown move in all directions. Basics in this line contain lambs wool, Shetland, cashmere or blends. There are fleeces, jaspes and glittery yarns in lambs wool/mohair/nylon/lurex. A new yarn combining lambs wool with Lenzings lycocell is ultra light, fine and drapes well.At Sisa, Elite blended with mohair gives the yarn a curled appearance. Mohair/Modal blends are sampling well. Other coarse gauge yarns are blends of acrylic/mohair and acrylic/wool/nylon. Acrylic/mohair yarns are sometimes covered with nylon to give luster and a mottled appearance.Best seller at Audresset (Matrix) is Cashmino, a machine-washable blend of cashmere/superfine merino. There are 100-percent cashmere yarns and blends with silk or cotton.A cashmere/linen introduced for spring was so successful it is continuing into the fall. The yarn is ultra fine with a natural, soft and dry touch. Innovative YarnsWith its 150th anniversary and the new millennium happening within the year, Christory (Roselon, Quakertown, Pa.) showed a lot of glitz. Extra-fine merino/lurex and viscose/lurex blends turn up in gold and silver.A thick-and-thin yarn in a blend of merino/black nylon gives a long slubbed effect to fabrics. Curly yarns and twisted yarns in extra-fine merino/nylon provide texture.Hunters of Brora (Bishop, East Providence, R.I.) has Shetlands with as many as 22 colors per yarn. The average is six. A lot of the yarns are crimped, giving them a natural softness. New Zealand merino wool yarns and lambs wool are soft and light. Heathers are current favorites.Laidlaw and Fairgrieve was promoting the versatility of its yarns for a variety of end-uses. Traditional sportswear for men featured yarns knitted into compact fabrics with a dry hand. For children there was chunky Shetland sweaters in naive patterns. Soft, light, fine yarns were shown for women. There are Shetlands, marled yarns, tweeds, nubs and cotton-rich blends. A tri-blend of wool/linen/cotton is selling well in the American market.Jean-Francis Billion of Billion Mayor (Jo AL, N.Y.) said there was increased interest in high-twist acetate/polyester or rayon/polyester. He was selling some of the same yarns for knitting and weaving. Ultra-fine textured polyester was shown in sheer, dry-hand crepes.A tri-blend of nylon/polyester/viscose was woven into a light, lustered jacquard. Satin-backed shantung of 100-percent polyester was popular for upholstery.At Emile Tardy (Seritex), slippery gold and silver yarns have been created in blends of acetate and low-temperature-dye polyester.There are tree-bark textured crepe yarns in triacetate/textured nylon, and satins in blends of viscose or acetate with nylon or polyester. There are textured yarns, matte or luster, and a lot of stretch. Some of the stretch yarns contain spandex fiber, other contain spandex, others Elite. Until We Meet AgainThe next Expofil showing yarns for Spring/Summer 2001 will take place in Paris, December 7-9, 1999.

August 1999