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New Fiber Variants

Fiber company forecasts and strategies focus on the consumer.


Fiber companies are fine-tuning their market research and product development programs. They are working through the chain to provide new fiber variants and develop new products and programs targeted at a sophisticated, educated and demanding consumer.Recent DuPont workshops highlighted advances in seamless technology. Global sourcing, programs for teens and apparel trends for the years ahead were other focus areas.New York City-based Cotton Incorporated has spotlighted garment care, casual lifestyles and new colors and fabrics for apparel and the home. Austria-based Lenzing stressed comfort, performance and fashion with color and fabric presentations for 2001 and beyond.Market research, trend forecasting and product development at Cotton Incorporated have targeted specific markets. According to data from the NPD Group, a Chicago-based international marketing information company, machine-washable apparel units purchased at retail have increased 4 percent over the past 10 years. A more casual lifestyle at work and in the home are reasons cited by Cotton Incorporated.In a recent study commissioned by Cotton Incorporated on consumer attitudes towards garment care, 61 percent of respondents indicated care labels were important in their decision to purchase a clothing item. Seventy-two percent of consumers surveyed by The Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor said they dont like to wear wrinkled clothing. New Developments At Cotton IncorporatedNew apparel fabrics created by Cotton Incorporateds fabric development team at its Cary, N.C., Research Center include Bedford cord shirting fabrics, which are resin-finished for wrinkle resistance. There is a lightweight shirting group suitable for corporate casual dressing. One shirting fabric has a construction simulating a honeycomb weave. Another fabric, a multicolor double-weave stripe, is constructed to simulate space-dyed yarns.Other woven apparel development fabrics include textured dobbies, steep twills and mock lenos. They are appropriate for both menswear and womenswear and have applications for pants, skirts, dresses and shirts.Reporting on apparel color and fabric trends for 2001, Kathryn Gordy-Novakovic, director of The Cottonworks® Fabric Library, cited colors most frequently selected by manufacturers, designers and retailers for Spring/Summer 2001. Tonal shadings and an overall brighter palette included warm reds, yellowed greens, aquas and denim blues, plus a deep violet shade and a bright fuchsia.Fabrics at The Cottonworks Fabric Library come from more than 300 domestic and international mills, knitters and converters, and are knitted and woven of 100-percent cotton and blends. Gordy-Novakovic has organized them into four areas: yarn dyes, print and pattern, texture, and embellishment and coating.There are updated preppy looks from the 1980s, large-scaled patterns, metallic effects and mercerized cottons to give a touch of luster and shine in the yarn dyes group. Iridescent checks, end-on-ends, batistes and fine-line twills are some of the fabrics of special interest. A crepon stripe from F.M. Hammerle of 100-percent cotton, and 8- and 10-ounce cotton/polyester denims from GaleyandLord and Tai Yuen Textiles are of note.Muted Hawaiian prints, citrus-colored tie-dyes and botanicals are shown in the print and pattern range. A knitted fabric from La Lame, printed to look like washed denim, is a blend of cotton/Lycra®.The texture story includes jacquards, seersuckers, popcorn-stitch knits, crinkle metallic blends, quilted fabrics and chenille that looks like a bedspread. "There is a lot of crossover between fabrics for apparel and the home," said Gordy-Novakovic.There are paper-touch finishes, light waxed treatments and embroidered piques in the embellishment and coating group. A lizard print on denim has been coated with polyurethane. New Ways With DenimIn "Apparel Selling Ideas," presented to knitters, mills and converters, Suzanne Achtemeier, Cotton Incorporateds senior director, fashion marketing, said: "There is a huge movement towards a lot of color. Greens have become more sophisticated, and reds and variations of red continue to expand. Neutrals are moving into green and yellow bases."Achtemeier showed new treatments for denim including double-faced, coated and bonded denims. Rugged canvas; tweeds in cotton/wool blends, corduroy and velvet; and napped, sueded and sanded surfaces were other fabrics she pointed out for Winter 2002. Basket weaves, moleskins and twills will be popular. She showed chenilles, hairy fleeces, quilted knits and plush fabrics. Along with 100-percent cotton, there will be blends with cashmere, wool, silk and elastomeric fibers."Home Fashion Selling Ideas," presented by Elizabeth Hough, senior director, fashion marketing, home fabrics, Cotton Incorporated, showed a tonal color range. "Greens and yellows are back," she said. "They have been absent for several seasons."Her greens go from pale sage to yellowed shades and olive. Her blues are influenced by green, with a lot of aqua and turquoise. Lavenders are red-cast and are shown with gray. Pinks and oranges are warm and soft. Yellows are luminous and are shown with spice reds and browns.A lot of texture was featured in fabrics for the home. Hough showed matelasse plaids, embroidered basket weaves, confetti-colored terry, jacquards, damasks, cut velvets and twills.Many prints were inspired by nature, with bamboo, flowers, leaves and animal skins in abundance. Paisleys were newly styled and colored. Metallics and mercerized cotton yarns provided luster and shine.From the Cary, N.C., Research Center, new development fabrics for the home have been created for table-top, window treatment, top-of-the-bed and upholstery applications. For the table, there are dobbies with raised effects. Sheer curtain fabrics include mock lenos and treatments to give a dry hand. For draperies, there are honeycombs and double weaves. Upholstery fabrics show surface interest and are woven with novelty yarns such as Angelina® sparkle from Meadowbrook. DuPont Seamless WorkshopsTo help customers keep pace with new developments in seamless technology, DuPont held a series of workshops in its New York office. Specialists from DuPonts Tactel® nylon and Lycra spandex teams showed new fabric developments, highlighted market research recently completed with focus groups and discussed future applications for seamless technology (See Quality Fabric Of The Month, ATI , August 2000). 
"The biggest driver for the seamless trend is the newness it brings," said Kathy Smith, DuPont marketing manager for Lycra intimate apparel. "Seamless started with womens underwear and, with increased consumer interest, has moved quickly into the swimwear and active sportswear markets."Focus groups conducted by Wirthlin World Wide resulted in positive reactions by consumers to seamless garments. Greater comfort, better fit, durability and a smooth, sleek look were commented on by participants of all ages.Showing prototype garments knitted on Santoni machines, Cathy Hamilton, Lycra senior research associate, noted the versatility offered. Garments can be knitted in yarns ranging from 10 to 70 denier. Jacquards, overlays and sheer cut-outs can be achieved. Garments were shown knitted in a variety of stitch lengths and with different yarn combinations, including microfibers, Tactel and CoolMax®, all blended with Lycra. DuPont has installed Santoni seamless equipment in three labs, along with machines for shaping, dyeing and fabricating garments.In this country, seamless can be found in intimate apparel and bodywear apparel at Victorias Secret, Bali, Vanity Fair, Jockey and Calvin Klein.In ready-to-wear, it was noted that the Europeans are ahead of U.S. manufacturers."Were still learning," said Hamilton. Swimwear, driving gloves, socks and skirts are some of the merchandise categories in which Europe has established a lead. Color A Feature Of DuPont Apparel Trend WorkshopsDuPont ready-to-wear workshops presented 2001 color and fabric trends to designers, manufacturers and retailers, along with market fabrics from global resources, all containing Lycra spandex, Tactel nylon, Micromattique microfiber and Dacron® polyester.Roseann Forde, DuPont fashion director, showed five groups of colors, with fabrics divided into three trends. Cosmetic pinks, mauves, lilacs and soft corals in a range of colorful pastels were pointed out as feminine, giving a new soft slant to geometric patterns. Forde named the look Flirtatious. Fabrics shown included printed mesh, sueded surfaces, crinkles and satins. Milliken, Ge-Ray, Burlington, United Knitting, Marcel Liebaert and Bellieni were among the resources.Soft twills, striped jerseys, sateens and linens fell into a group of fabrics Forde called Confident. These were suggested for office attire. Neutral shades, mossy and olive greens, classic navy and white were highlighted colors. Fabric resources included Guilford Mills, Stillwater, Lamberto, Manteco and Nalpac.Bright citrus shades, metallic hues, turquoise and geranium turned up in fabrics for activewear and childrens wear and for accents in printed and patterned fabrics. Forde referred to these as Carefree. Fabrics here included leather with Lycra, denim of cotton/Lycra, crinkled wovens of linen/Lycra, puff prints and a lot of sparkle. Delta Mills, Avondale, Fabrictex, Agmont, Chatelard, Gierlings Velpor, Tissage de Picardie and Noyon were among the resources pointed out. Lenzing Shows Colors, Yarns And Fabrics For 2001/2002Austrian cellulosic fiber producer Lenzing highlighted warm, woody browns on its shade card for Fall 2001/Winter 2002. Ebony, mahogany and rosewood were shown with rust, gold and wine shades. These colors were suggested for a wide range of fabrics, from opulent jacquards and velvets to leathers and felted fabrics. The group is called Woods.Another range, Atrium, was recommended for knitted fabrics and casual sportswear. The colors were gray, taupe, China blue, grape and black. A group called Arctic included cold, blue shades ranging from icy, light hues to sapphire, turquoise, plum and deep navy. Scandinavian ethnic patterns and sheer, shiny fabrics were suggested.Autumnal greens and beiges turned up in the Boheme range. Celery, topaz, olive and pine shades ranged from pale to dark. Rustic coarse knits, homespun weaves and shiny satins were fabric highlights.Double weaves, fleeces, and padded and coated fabrics were some of Lenzings suggestions for outerwear fabrics. Skin patterns and lightweight surfaces with peach-skin finishes were others. Classic looks included tweeds, tartans, shadow and houndstooth checks, flannels, cords, denim and etamine.Knits are expected to be strong sellers. The range goes from delicate and transparent to chunky and voluminous with a dry hand. Crinkled, metallic, silky and iridescent yarns will blend with mohair, wool and viscose. There will be lacy knits, relief surfaces and luster.


September 2000



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