The Rupp Report: Optimistic Top-Level Yarn Business

According to the statements of many exhibitors, the 41st edition of FILO, the International Exhibition of Yarns and Fibres, closed its doors “in an atmosphere of optimism.” Buyers from big retail companies will probably never visit FILO, but interested parties producing top-class apparel must attend FILO to see the latest products of high-end yarns.
Walking through the aisles of Le Stelline Congress Centre in Milan seems like visiting a big family. The setup of the whole event with all the booths and sample displays is made in a very Italian way — pretty and very personal. Everybody can see what the neighbors are doing and who is visiting them, and — of course — most of them know one another. However, there must be a sense of competition among the top class of the mostly European spinners.
Three Main Yarn Groups
Basically, exhibitors are classified according to four main product groups: cotton; silk; wool and man-made cellulosic fibers. Companies like Switzerland-based Hermann Bühler AG are among the top specialists for superfine cotton yarns, made of extra-long-staple Supima® cotton. Buhler is also a specialist for yarns made with Austria-based Lenzing AG’s MicroModal® and TENCEL® fibers. For Bühler, the main reason to be present is to meet Italian buyers, said Renata Franz, Bühler’s business development & marketing manager. “During the two-day exhibition, we received many Italian customers, who showed appreciation for our yarn proposal focused on fine yarns produced with exclusive cottons and natural fibres,” she said.
Another Switzerland-based spinner, Camenzind + Co. AG, produces only silk-based yarns. The yarns for top-class apparel and handknitting are produced exclusively in Switzerland. According to co-owner Nicole Camenzind, the company is always challenged to show new products each time at FILO. This time, Camenzind presented a spun silk yarn/twist with the extremely fine yarn count of Nm 300/2, a tubular yarn with a blend of 57-percent wool and 43-percent silk, and a yarn blended from silk and Alpaca Royal fibers. However, she added, the feedback was very good.
Tencel was a very big hit at FILO. Italy-based Cotonifico Roberto Ferrari showed some interesting samples in 100-percent Tencel but also showed silk, linen, and even cupro fibers.
Natural fibers are the cornerstone for almost every exhibitor at the show. For example, another Italian spinner, Davifil S.r.l., presented open-end and ring-spun yarns with blends of cotton, linen, wool, silk, hemp and even bast fibers like jute and ramie.
Elastane, or spandex, seems to enjoy continuing popularity. Some exhibitors showed yarns with percentages between 4 and 20 percent of elastane, blended with natural fibers, especially for bodywear.
Yarns With Glass Pearls
The top products in terms of originality and know-how — at least in the Rupp Report’s opinion — were yarns from a small Italian spinning mill called Fil.Pa 1974 S.n.c., owned by Barbara Padrini and her brother Andrea — Fil.Pa means the Padrini siblings. The company has only 123 people working, but the outcome is just staggering. On blended 80:20 viscose/polyamide yarns, they apply small glass pearls or sequins and other “impossible” materials. Of course, the Rupp Report wanted to know how they produce these fantastic products. The answer was just a laugh full of pride and a strict “no” to explain their achievement.
A Strike — Business As Usual
As often in Italy, the first day was accompanied by a strike. Italians are quite used to these kinds of problems. Nevertheless, Pier Francesco Corcione, managing director of AssoServizi Biella, a textile association, said: “Despite the public transport strike, with detrimental repercussions on the Milan traffic, FILO recorded a satisfying ‘first working day.’” And he also mentioned the current market situation, saying, “Maybe it is at present far too soon to speak of a recovery of the sector, but it seems possible to report at least a trend reversal compared to the recent past.” One can hope for the best.
Enough Is Enough
This expression sounds very different and is very short in the Italian language: “Basta” is the Italian word for “enough is enough.” Marilena Bolli, president of the Unione Industriale Biellese, one of the most important Italian business associations, with a lot of textile companies as members, was not very happy with the eternal “Italian situation.” She used very strong words at an official reception: “Having strong roots is a peculiarity of the companies which exhibit at FILO. Unfortunately, the companies that carry out their activity with passion and dedication every day, feel betrayed by the country they love: too many barriers interfere with the entrepreneur’s activity, bureaucracy, labor cost, energy cost. For these reasons the Piedmontese entrepreneurs launched the initiative ‘I love Italy, but enough is enough!’ which … continue their efforts on the website, where entrepreneurs have the possibility to report any malfunctions making it difficult to make business in Italy.”
FILO supports the Piedmontese Confindustria Associations initiative, which backs up its denunciation with specific numbers and offers concrete recommendations for new development. FILO Manager Paolo Monfermoso said, “Enterprises are the essential resources of the country and they are responsible for the work and income for millions of people as well as the future of our children.” And indeed they are.
Observers — and neighbors — of Italy are very much aware of what Bolli meant: There is too much trouble, obstruction and political wrangling; and a colossal bureaucracy — just to name a few problems. There is anger that many small and medium-sized Italian companies are working hard to survive, but they are bashing their heads against a wall. There is a lot of hope and desire that the new government will finally help to solve these problems.
Promising Future
Back to positive news: Monfermoso said: ”We are very satisfied with the trend of this spring edition which closed not only on a positive note compared to the past editions, but also with a more determined approach both towards choices and requests, in the pursuit of a product increasingly focused on technological research. The climate of optimism of the first exhibition day was confirmed by the trend of the second work day.”
Especially mentioned by the exhibitors was the high quality of the people attending and the many foreign visitors who came on the first day, in particular from the United States. The satisfaction for the outcome achieved during this FILO was confirmed by exhibitors. Nicoletta Meriglio of Italy-based Botto Poala, another first-class exhibitor, expressed her satisfaction with the trend of the exhibition. “In particular during the second day, we met buyers with clear-cut mind, fully aware of the proposals offered by a company like ours. For the Fall/Winter season 2015/2016 focus is on silk, the summer material par excellence, but also ideal for the colder season. In addition to the classic Silk 2/120, a clean and shiny schappe, we presented Giove in 100-percent silk 2/28.”
Vincenzo Caneparo of Davifil underlined this sentiment: “FILO confirms its role as a very high level exhibition,” he said. “Special appreciation received our natural yarns, a well-established trend, which is indicative of a higher attention paid to product quality and environmentally sustainable productions also on the part of the end consumer.”
The next FILO will be held at Le Stelline Congress Centre, Oct. 8-9, 2014. You shouldn’t miss it.
March 18, 2014