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Knitting / Apparel

More On Color & Fiber Services

Company color forecasts and new fiber presentations are communication resources in the apparel-to-retail supply chain.

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

A long with trade associations and companies that are in the business of color, many fiber companies provide fabric and color forecasts 12 to 18 months ahead of the season as a service to their direct and indirect customers. Technical and marketing assistance are other services offered.

Showing Off, from INVISTA™ Inc.’s Mode in Motion Fall/Winter 2005-06 color/fabric/fashion forecast, offers a range of printed fabrics in pale and mid-range palettes.

Celanese Acetate
At New York City-based Celanese Acetate, James Siewert, manager of creative services, gives color and fabric overview presentations twice a year. In January 2004, he began showing Spring/Summer 2005 colors to apparel and retail markets. Fall/Winter 2005-06 presentations will start in July. Presentations are held for small groups and focus on information of specific interest to each.

"Because each industry has its own timing, I will continue showing each season for about four to five months," Siewert said.

Color cards and written reports are given out. Presentations focus on color, print and pattern, fabric, and design. For mills and converters, there are development fabrics and ideas. Knits, satins, brocades, jacquards and lining fabrics - all containing acetate - are developed for direct customers. They are shown along with conceptual garments that Siewert collects in Europe. Separate mill and converter presentations take place earlier, from October to December and from April to June.

Apparel and retail presentations are accompanied by a visit to Celanese's Fabric Library. Here, a vast collection of fabrics from global resources is organized by category. There are separate sections for satins and taffetas, jacquards and brocades, knits, and lining fabrics. Sheer, sportswear and velvet are among other fabric types.

For Spring/Summer 2005, Siewert said color will be "more defined and not so muted. Brights will be saturated, mid-tones less grayed. There will be a lot of contrast, with mid-tones mixed with brights and pastels with darks. Retro colors are elegant and feminine. There is subtle sophistication to the palette. We are moving away from tonality and looking for more visual impact." He also mentioned greater interest in prints and patterns, light textured fabrics, summer tweeds and velvets.

Brighter Colors Forecast For Cotton
Cotton Incorporated, Cary, N.C., began showing apparel colors and fabrics for Spring/Summer 2005 in November 2003. On its card, there are 35 colors divided into seven groups. The same card is shown for women's, men's, children's and intimate apparel, with market representatives available in each separate area to focus on specific shades and how to use them. Apparel color cards come out twice a year. A separate presentation of color, fabric and pattern for the home is issued once a year.

Kathryn Novakovic, director, fashion marketing, said: "Overall, we see colors getting continually brighter and more vivid, and softer shades blending with darker colors in the palette. In fabrics, surface interest enhances and enriches color while adding dimension and depth."

A group of brights is noted for children's wear. Red, yellow, aqua and white are shown with a neutral shade called Sandcastle. Faded peach and green are shown with taupe, black and white. The look is vintage. Menswear and knitwear are suggested areas of application. Blues and greens dominate a third group - denim and outerwear fabrics are shown here.

Classic red and navy are shown with pale gray, and shades called Burlap and Straw. Traditional fabrics, including those with slubbed surfaces and classic menswear styles, are pointed out. Soft pastels turn up in a group called Victorian Enchantment. Tea rose, amethyst, pale yellow and sage green are shown with a wine shade called Port. The look is feminine and elegant. Fabric suggestions are organdy and lace.

Another group has an ethnic look, with strong shades of turquoise, avocado, orchid pink, purple and spice brown. Knitted fabrics, prints and novelties are some of Novakovic's fabric choices in this group. The last range is suggested for children's wear, leisure apparel and yarn-dyed stripes and checks. It's a bright range with goldfish yellow, orange and lime combined with a grayed blue and warm brown.

INIVSTA™ In Motion
Roseann Forde, fashion director, INVISTA™ Inc., Wilmington, Del., titles her most recent color/fabric/fashion forecast, Mode in Motion. Invista conducts twice-yearly direction workshops for womenswear, menswear and large-size apparel. Separate presentations are held for activewear and intimate apparel. The same color card is shown for all fashion areas, with a different focus for each.
For Fall/Winter 2005-06, Forde suggests an autumnal palette of moss and yellowed greens, woodsy browns, grape, bittersweet orange and coral for a range she calls Breaking Tradition.

In a group called Fast Forward there are two whites - one a creamy tint, and the other pure and bright. These are shown with black, gray, brown and plum. Other shades are flax, purple, peacock and turquoise blues, soft aqua, and pale gray-blue, plus the brightest shade on the card, neon yellow. Suggested fabrics include leather with Lycra®, metallic panne velvets, coated fabrics and textured knits.

There are a lot of printed fabrics in a range called Showing Off. Animal skins, border and engineered prints turn up on sheer fabrics, satin and jersey. Colors tend to the pale and mid-range palettes. There are warm neutrals, coral, golden yellow, a yellow-cast grass-green, purple and a soft purple-cast gray.

Special presentations to spinners, mills and converters show development and conceptual fabrics. Invista links its mill/converter presentations to lifestyle. They act as a communication resource through the apparel-to-retail chain, linking each with the next step along the way.

Iris LeBron, fashion director for intimate apparel, swimwear and activewear, highlights different shades on Invista's color card. Sorbet shades of lime, lemon and pink are suggested for seamless garments, lace, lightweight crepes and wallpaper prints in a group called Refresh. There are rich shades of ruby red, cadet blue and brown in a range called Revive. Fabrics here include powernets, and laser cut-out, open work and geometric patterns. Restore is LeBron's third category. There are oversized prints, embroideries, patterned sheers, crepe, satin and a lot of flowers colored in offbeat warm and cool color combinations in this range.

LeBron highlights some of the new technologies that are impacting intimate apparel. She shows fabrics containing scents and moisturizers, and graduated compression that gives a massage effect.


Nilit Shows Bodyfashion Trends
The Nilit Sensil™ Bodyfashion Trendbook for Spring/Summer 2005 shows colors, fabrics and shapes that are romantic, funky, vintage and sporty. The emphasis is on style, comfort and performance. Fabrics are shown knitted in a variety of Sensil yarns that have been perfected for seamless and circular knitting.

One trend, called Timeless Spirit, has been developed for lingerie and has an emphasis on lightness. Fabrics are ultra-soft with a diaphanous transparency and drape. Another direction, called Origins, has a primitive, multicultural feeling. Colors are intense, textures are rustic, and surface details have a rugged and hand-crafted look with crochet and macramé.

Bleached colors and soft-to-the-touch fabrics give a nostalgic feeling to the Simplicity group. Comfort and authenticity give an old-fashioned country touch to innerwear and outerwear. A fourth trend, called Fun Vibration, has a young, sport and street attitude. Colors are neofluorescent, and lingerie is mismatched with contrasts of patterns and proportions. The fifth group, Fast Track, features power-packed activewear that focuses on comfort, style and performance.

Color and trend presentations at Tencel take place twice a year. Sandy MacLennan, managing director, East Central Studios, London, presents color and trend directions. Tencel market representatives are available throughout the year to review and update this information and relate it directly to specific end-use areas. Tencel's vast fabric library is organized both by fabric type and by source.

At his most recent forecast, MacLennan showed a range of warm and tinted neutrals. "The colors are soft and feminine," he said, pointing out vanilla, chocolate browns and caramel. Combinations of brights with pales in another group mix green-cast shades with reds and pink. A third range features "colors that glow" - thermal oranges, sulfur yellows and amber are placed with black and brown. Earthy neutrals featuring grays and taupes are in the last group and are shown centered by white.

MacLennan said classic patterns and textures will continue. There are corduroys and moleskins with washed and vintage finishes. Clash colors with bold, loud patterns are returning on lustrous fabrics. Velvet is going into sportswear, along with lightweight and vintage denim. Geometric patterns, jerseys, jacquards, crepes and cloques are among the other fabric recommendations.

Technology, Customer Service At Hyosung
Korea-based Hyosung Corp. is a full-service supplier of nylon and polyester, along with its Creora® spandex. "We are bullish about the future of spandex," said David Darwin, senior marketing manager, North America, Hyosung. Three years ago, Hyosung's annual worldwide spandex production was 30,000 metric tons. Today, with a new plant in China that is undergoing its second expansion and ground-breaking underway for a new facility in Europe, Darwin said that by the end of 2004, the company will have the capacity to produce 60,000 metric tons per year.

Along with plant expansion, technology and new product development are high priorities. "We are sampling antimicrobial spandex fibers," Darwin said. "Last year, we introduced flat and specialty textured microdenier polyester and nylon fibers to North America. We are also producing moisture-management and flame-retardant fibers. Current technology is underway to combine all of these multi-functions into one fiber."

"We interplay technology with customer service," Darwin said. "We make it easy for customers to work with a foreign company where timing and distance could be a problem. From our offices in Rock Hill, S.C., orders are placed and technical service is handled as if our customers are dealing with a domestic producer."

Nylstar’s Kermel™ aramid flame-retardant fiber is going into apparel for fire services and industrial protection.

Nylstar Works Through Supply Chain
Dina Dunn, vice president, marketing, Nylstar Inc. USA, Greensboro, said: "We work through the supply chain, connecting the dots from fiber to consumer. We act as partners with cut-and-sew groups, helping with sourcing through the supply chain. In this hemisphere, we are involved with full packaging. We even supply hangtags and hangers."

Dunn said Nylstar's bacteriostatic nylon fiber, Skinlife, is going into new markets. Military and medical are two she mentioned. "For medical end-uses, the fiber must be impervious to moisture and comfortable through seasonal changes," she said.

About a year ago, Nylstar introduced its Kermel™ aramid flame-retardant fiber to the American market. According to Richard Ridewood, director, product development, Nylstar Inc. USA, it is going into apparel for fire services and industrial protection. "Kermel is well-established in Europe," Ridewood said.

Proactive Service At RadiciSpandex
According to Bill Girrier, vice president, sales and marketing, RadiciSpandex Corp., Fall River, Mass., with a downturn in the economy over the past several years, many of its customers have downsized and eliminated technical staff. "We have gone from being reactive to proactive," Girrier said. "We maintain a full analytical laboratory where we can ascertain what is in a fabric and how it was made. We have knitting equipment that can make development fabrics, and a chemical laboratory that can dye and finish. We even attend machinery shows, where we study new equipment, and can advise our customers about new products of specific interest to them."

"For our domestic customers, innovation means survival," he continued. "One way [to do this] is to provide fabrics with a better fit. Last year, we launched S-45 in answer to the demand for a spandex fiber that would be compatible with microdenier polyester for the activewear market. We're going after what people want."

February 2004