Premiere Vision Offers Peek At Fabric Futures
Tradition and technology reign supreme at European textile show.
Premiere Vision Offers Peek At Fabric Futures Tradition and technology reign supreme at European textile show. A majority of the 876 textile exhibitors who show at Premiere Vision are medium-sized companies, yet their combined annual total turnover is 16.4 billion euros. Exports make up 54.5 percent (8.9 billion euros), with nearly 76 percent of that coming from neighboring European countries. Close to 12 percent is derived from the Americas and more than nine percent from Asia.A recent survey of exhibitors shows a decline in sales for the first half of 1999 of about 4.5 percent. With the Millennium Round of negotiations, which took place in Seattle a few weeks after Premiere Vision, a debate was staged at the show where textile leaders and European members of parliament discussed issues of globalization, fair trade, de-localization and investment in the European textile industry. A Textile OpinionOn the textile side, Jean de Jaegher, president of Euratex and the Italian group Marzotto, said: We have specific advantages in terms of creativity, quality, flexibility, employment and a market for specialties. If only the politicians would give us the means to survive and develop these advantages.Other textile panelists were Eduardo Miroglio, chairman of Miroglio; Wilhelm Otten, chairman of Josef Otten; James Sugden, managing director of Johnstons of Elgin; Eduardo Malone, chairman of the Chargeurs group; and Nico Leendertz, managing director of Girmes.Concerns cited by this group include balanced reciprocity. How can we survive if Third World countries have permission to dump cheap fabrics in our home markets asked Otten. Sweatshop labor, poor quality and politicians lack of response to events such as the Banana War were other issues cited.In defending their position, members of the European Parliament said that it is difficult to take measures that will be upheld by the majority of member states when there are many different special interests. Although nothing was resolved, the debate did focus attention on problems facing European textiles in a global environment. Divisions and ConsolidationsAt a separate press conference, Marzotto announced it has divided its textile fabrics division into three separate lines: Fabric by Marzotto, a collection of wool for menswear; Ws Marzotto for womenswear; and Fusion Line for contemporary/sportswear.The Fusion line will produce innovative wool/polyester blends, primarily coming from Marzottos Nova Mosilana plant in Czechoslovakia. According to the company, production of 3 million linear meters is anticipated.In a reverse move, Como silk weaver Ratti announced consolidation of three divisions: Donna Ratti, Ratti 7 and DEste-Brochier into one unit Ratti Fashion. According to Donatella Ratti, printed fabrics began an upturn with the Summer 2000 collection.For Fall 2000, Ratti Fashion is printing on a variety of fabrics including cashmere, taffeta, satin, velour, felted wool, jersey, crepe and chiffon. There are ethnic motifs coupled with traditional designs, sophisticated flowers, macro and micro geometrics combined, animal skin designs and paisley.Novelties at Ratti are sandwich cloth sheers with three fabrics combined for a shimmering effect. Laser cuts turn up on leather-look fabrics and polyurethane coated cotton/viscose blends. There also are double-faced silks which are softly brushed on one side and satin surfaced on the other. New Ways With WoolTraditionally at the Fall/Winter show, the wool sector has the largest number of exhibitors. There was a lot of innovation here, along with concern about price and high tariffs.At Woolmark, easy care is increasingly prominent. A fabric produced by Lanificio Cabal is going into machine washable suits for Emporio Armani. Sportwool and Wool plus Lycra® are two other areas gaining market share.Other new developments at Woolmark are wool denim in an intimate blend of 60-percent wool/40-percent cotton, steel/wool in fabrics that mold, crush and wrinkle, and air-wool. The air-wool fabrics are woven with a yarn of wool/PVA (polyvinyl alcohol). The PVA washes out in finishing, resulting in a ultra light fabric of 100-percent wool. The fabric on display was woven by the Italian mill Tiberghien.Wool/Lycra with a polyurethane coating and bonded fleece fabrics of wool/polyester are other new developments at Woolmark. These are being produced by Limonta (Strachman Associates). American designer Ron Chereskin sampled several for his new outerwear line, which he describes as sportswear driven with a softer approach.Limonta has also added a wool line. Most of the fabrics are lightweight blends of wool/nylon with a breathable coated surface. Some are brushed and ultra soft, others have a rubber touch. British MP Visits Show FloorIn the British wool sector, The Harris Tweed Group got an extra boost with a visit by Brian Wilson, MP, Minister of State at the Scotland Office. A major concern American buyers expressed to Wilson is the exceptionally high duty on wool fabrics, especially when fabrics such as Harris tweeds can not be produced in the United States.Wilson noted that Harris Tweed has a tradition that exists no where else in the world. The cloth is still hand woven but today great efforts have been made to ensure that fabrics produced in the Hebrides can meet the needs of contemporary designers, while maintaining the essential characteristics of Harris Tweed.On the last day of the show, Derick Murray of the KM Harris Tweed Group (St. Andrews) reported interest among American buyers in plains and large checks with a lot of color. Now that Harris Tweed is available in 150 cms widths, it has a softer hand and is lighter in weight.Hunters of Brora (St. Andrews) also reported checks selling well. Heather shades with touches of flat boucle yarns in vibrant pink and scarlet, and rustic chunky herringbone weaves were shown. Menswear designers were sampling ultra-light New Zealand merino wools, while womenswear customers opted for dark, richly colored checks in lambs wool. Lightweight fabrics of 320 gms and heavyweights up to 540 gms were sampling well.At Robert Noble, Gill Cable said: Were busier than usual. I think its because we have color. The Italians dont.At the top of the line there was interest in red shades. Subtle checks in wool/cashmere blends, small neat patterns in lambs wool and small nubby boucles were pointed out. American menswear designers sampled checks in wool/silk/linen blends. Double cloths reversing from pattern to plain sampled well for outerwear and unlined jackets.At Calzeat (Chantal) there was a move to muted colors and checks in the McArthur worsted line. Soft misted wool spun checks at Dickson and raised patterns with touches of mohair at Claridge were popular. Pressed velvet finishes and ripple effect mohairs in the Calzeat jacquard line were of special interest.Weathered shades of green, olive and slate with old gold and pink were of note at Lochcarron (RuLytex). An indigo-dyed denim tartan of 100-percent cotton, mohair tartans, blazer stripes and anything with surface interest were featured. Cashmere With A Rustic LookJohn Gillespie of Johnstons of Elgin (Windsor Textiles) reported excellent reactions to the fall line, especially from Italian customers, who now account for 50 percent of their business. One of their best selling fabrics is a Donegal tweed with a deceivingly rustic look and ultra-soft hand. New cords and cavalry twills were selling, and there was less interest in traditional fabrics and patterns.French weaver de Cathalo, part of the Chargeurs group, reported precious fiber blends selling well. A shaggy, hairy-surfaced coating of baby alpaca/mohair/wool was one fabric of note. Another contained beaver fur.The animals are farm raised and shaved, said Thomas Brochier, North American market manager. Color reversing, double-faced fabrics, subtle raised surfaces and boucles were other fabrics Brochier showed.Wool coats are coming back, Brochier added. Most of what he presented contained Lycra and are scotchguarded. Generally the coating fabrics are lightweight and have texture. There are velours, hairy fabrics and loops in blends of wool/cashmere/angora or wool/kid mohair/nylon.Axel Delacroix of de Vaudricourt (Chantal) also mentioned wool coating fabric. He showed tonal boucles and jacquards woven in Cashwool, a merino yarn from Zegna Baruffa. There is a lot of novelty and innovation here. There are double-faced window pane checks in wool/copper blends, boiled wools, wool/Lycra puckers, shaggy loops in patterns and wool/nylon checks which are burned out to form a pattern.Rough and rustic stripes, zig-zag patterns and waffles woven with thick and thin yarns have the look of Peruvian ponchos at Alba la Source (ColemanandMason).Donegals and boucles with a spongy hand are woven with Shetland or lambs wool yarns, some have angora or silk to give a soft or dry hand to the fabric. Rich shades of khaki and red were featured.At Isoule (Barn Hill), washable shirtings in wool/cotton are napped for extra softness. Stretch wools come in a variety of weights and coordinating patterns. The Isotex division has puckered and embossed surfaces, lightweight bulky double cloths, heathers and tweeds.The Spanish firm Dimtex (Rashi) has a wide range of classics and novelties for menswear. Worsted wool suitings of 290/310 grams are classic favorites. There is ultra-light flannel of wool/cashmere in plain and mini pattern designs. A line described as going from the country to the city includes wool/Lycra bi-stretch, corded crepes and metallic stripes. There are washable wool blend jacket and trouser weight fabrics here as well.Casual, rustic and sporty wools and blends at Dobert (Chantal) include spongy terry and boucle, velours, meltons and washed boiled wools. There are double cloths, some with foam bonding or fiber fill. Pastels and light beiges were popular colors.At Milior (Gordon Textiles), an Italian firm in the wool sector, there is a lot of new technological development. Lycra turns up in a variety of weights and textures. There are double cloths which reverse from a hard to soft or felted to wrinkled surface. One new treatment, called Newskin, is an ultra-light polyurethane adhesive with a rubber touch. It is semi-transparent and applied to fabrics. Another is a thermostatic yarn developed by DuPont which helps maintain body temperature.Milior has used a lot of mohair in light, open airy weaves. It is frequently blended with viscose and nylon for subtle shine. There are also breathable bonded fabrics that resemble suede and anti-stress fabrics that contain copper. Function And StyleIn the sportswear sector, Schoeller continues to be a leader in technological advances. For Fall/Winter 2000/01 they demonstrated climate control ComforTemp® products, introduced a year ago and developed for astronauts in outer space. These fabrics are making the transition from sport to leisure, blending functionality with style. They are breathable, moisture regulating and can be washed or dry cleaned.Stretch has been reinvented at Schoeller. There is four-way stretch denim, nylon/acrylic/Lycra stretch double-weave fleece and transparent stretch fabrics in a variety of looks. Metallics continue, with new fabrics and blends. Some have a lot of sheen, all can be crumpled, smoothed and molded. Metal is blended with wool, linen or synthetic fibers.