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Knitting / Apparel

From Mass To Class: Spring/Summer 2013 Apparel Fabrics

It's a changing market at Première Vision Preview and New York City's surface design shows.

By Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

Along with new weaves, weights, finishes and designs, there is a new customer for apparel fabrics. "It's a nicer market today," said Jacques Brunel, managing director, Première Vision S.A., Paris, producer of Première Vision Preview in New York City. "Four years ago, the customer was looking for price. Today she is willing to pay a little more for quality and originality."

Ron Sheridan of New York City-based Stelmar Trading Corp., agent for Confetti Tekstil, Turkey, echoed this statement: "The market is changing. We are selling smaller yardages to more buyers. There are new designers and labels; they are innovative, manufacturing in the US, willing to pay a bit more for something special, and they say, 'thank you'." California-based designer Brigitte Palmer, who creates innovative uniforms for hotel workers, was looking for quality, saying, "I can't find it in Asia."

Spring/Summer 2013 will be colorful. Shades of coral and lime green were pointed out. Overall emphasis was on light weights, soft hand, openwork and subtle textures. Washed finishes, and ultralight and transparent coatings were shown. And it will be a big print season. The Indigo and Printsource surface design shows were busy.

Luxe
At Première Vision Preview, Philea, France, and its recent acquisition Velcorex since 1828 shared a booth and ideas. Fabrics were shown together suggesting how to combine silky sheers with novelty summer cords. One of the newest fabrics is ultrafine corduroy with a linen pile. It is very lightweight; and has a soft, slightly crisp touch and the look of a fine piqué. It was shown pigment-dyed and bleached. Go-with fabrics include printed transparencies that have the look of woven textures, color-coated chambrays with a soft sheen, laser cut-out circles on viscose warp-knit sheers, rough-textured warp-stretch twills and crepe georgette woven with linen. 

C.O.T.O., Japan, is using linen, ramie and cotton for novel knitted and woven fabrics that have traditional origins. There are transparent fabrics dotted with opaque ovals, denims embellished with rings of fuzz, open patterns, slinky satin-touch stretch, high/low surfaces and linen sheers.

Two super luxe firms from France showed elegance for late day. At Denis et fils, coral and yellow-tinged, green-dyed supple satins were pointed out. There are crepes, silky-soft-washed fabrics and brocades touched with metallic threads. Sophisticated and feminine laces at Solstiss include fishnets, cotton cord outlined flowers and gold/silver floral combos. 

Casual
Linens at Ulster Weavers, Ireland, are stock-supported. The range goes from ultralight batistes to furnishings weights, yarn dyes and piece dyes with a soft or crisp hand. There are washed finishes, end-and-ends, denim looks, traditional herringbones, lenos, gingham checks, cricket stripes and iridescence. A made-to-order custom collection is available with 50-meter minimums.

French knitter Henitex International showed a line of cut-and-sew coordinating weights, colors and patterns in viscose, or cotton blended with spandex. Stripes come in all varieties — tonal, bright, shaded, variegated, mini, elongated and mixed. 

KA1
Première Vision Preview exhibitor Henitex International showed a variety of striped knitted fabrics.

BTD Tekstil, Turkey, has power-stretch twills, poplins and sateens that are prepared for garment dyeing. There are loopy bouclés, cotton/linen mélanges, ottomans, cavalry twills and basket weaves. Deveaux, France, has a variety of lacy knits that are colorful and touched with metal.    

High-performance fabrics tend to get lighter and softer. Frizza S.p.A., Italy, showed transparent bonded fabrics that have a plastic look, sheer-coated linens and coated denims. A bonded 10-denier nylon fabric is as light as a stocking. Double-faced sheers are sandwiched around floating yarns.

Olmetex S.p.A., Italy, has ultralightweight linen twills and silk/nylon shantungs with a crisp, dry hand that are Teflon®-faced and polyurethane-backed. There are lightweight double-faced bonded poplins reversing from digital print to solid, coated stretch yarn-dyed plaids, silky-touch nylons with blurred prints, and lightweight soft cotton/nylon compact weaves.

Digital prints are in demand at Sprintex S.a.s., France; Deveaux; Miroglio Textile S.r.l., Italy; KBC, Germany; and Confetti. Sprintex showed foulard all-overs, African ethnic batiks, florals with a slightly oriental feeling, and graduated borders. Bright colors, tonal shadings and black-and-white are popular. Best sellers at Confetti are silk sheers and rayon/spandex jerseys in top and dress weights. Designs are dramatic abstracts or florals. At Deveaux, African ethnic tribal and geometric designs and blurred ikats and florals are of note.

Animals, underwater conversationals, jungle vegetation, subtle African ethnic designs and flowers are at Miroglio. Florals tend to be oversized, bright and tropical, or romantic and blurred. Skin prints often run together with palm fronds, and photographic scenics are brightly colored.

Silk jersey, rayon and polyester crepe, denim, and stretch knits are base cloths at KBC. Flowers, African ethnics and angular geometrics are dramatic, photographic and often engineered. 

Surface Design Shows
Business was lively at Direction by Indigo and Printsource. Première Vision Exhibitions Director Gilles Lasbordes said Indigo has grown substantially, with 121 exhibitors at the latest New York show. "Not only do we have more exhibitors, but many studios are asking for larger booths," he said.  

Indigo exhibitor Contromoda, Italy, showed Hermès styles, blurred flowers, country gardens and animal skins in patchwork layouts. At Anteprima, Italy, there are tropical flowers and foliage in black-and-white and color, large-scale photographic florals, geometrics and scarf prints.

Three London studios pointed out large designs. At Helena Gavshon, there are graphic paisleys, blurred batiks, ethnic African geometrics, and a lot of conversationals. Animals, peacocks and underwater life are popular. Westcott Design Ltd. showed wave designs and underwater sea creatures, daisies and clean graphic florals and color blocking. At Amanda Kelly Design, there are large-scale mixed- element graphic patterns, misted no-print prints and huge conversationals.

Tom Cody has studios in London and New York City. His designs are sophisticated, graphic and simple. There are underwater seahorses, charming conversationals, large all-over blurred designs, tropicals, animal skins and flowers.

KA2
Direction by Indigo exhibitor Tom Cody displayed concept garments featuring different fabrics from his collection.

Marilyn Kern Textile Designs Inc., New York City, pointed out large tribal tropicals, animal borders, skin prints with a slight Missoni look, engineered  placements and color blocking. Designs at Printfresh Studio, Philadelphia, tend to be very large in scale. There are textured abstracts with mixed-up stripes and chevrons, Art Deco geometrics, African ethnics and sophisticated conversationals. 

Bests at Italy-based Bernini Studio Designs, exhibiting at both shows, are black-and-white designs, abstract geometrics and Indian-inspired looks.  

There were many new exhibitors and studios at Printsource. Belen Uribe, Ecuador, was inspired by her home landscape. Sea life and beehives with roses are two themes. Houston-based Studio Orbit designer Dagang Chen's graphic designs have a feeling of movement. There are curving lines, twining flowers and wheels in motion.

Avi Iny Designs, Israel, sells to activewear, lingerie and sleepwear markets. Seashell patterns, geometrics with feeling of movement, and textured abstracts and tropicals were cited. Consortium Design Agency, United Kingdom, calls one group of shaded abstract designs "Windows at dusk." There are photo-realistic textured plaids, checks and houndstooth patterns.

Ethnic influences at Creativo Surface Design, Brooklyn, N.Y., are South America-inspired and angular. For sleepwear, there are seashells, starfish and underwater themes. Large florals and abstract geometrics are selling to the missy market. For girls, it's French conversationals with berets and poodles. Exotic tropicals and skins are other popular themes.

Alicia Pardey Design Studio, Miami, is into sophisticated, hand-painted or computer-manipulated conversationals. There are egrets, mermaids and birds in cages. Shaded designs are nature-inspired.

January/February 2012

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