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From Farm To Fabric: The Many Faces Of Cotton - The 74th Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)
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The Forecast Is Clear And Bright

Future fabric trends highlight color and refinement.

By Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

A long with the freezing temperatures, ice and snow that covered a large part of the nation this winter, a ray of warmth emerged. In January, international forecasters, stylists, studios and a small group of fabric companies presented trends for Spring/Summer 2001 and beyond. Their message is optimistic. After a decade of black and grey, color returns. Fabrics will be light, fluid and refined, woven or knitted in blends of natural and man-made fibers. Prints make a comeback.

Freedom Of Movement

pinksweater_935Jean Hegedus, DuPont Lycra® marketing knitwear manager, noted that sweaters are a fast-growing category in women’s apparel. Elasticized sweaters are growing more rapidly than the category as a whole.

“In December ’99 we ran a sweater survey on our Lycra website. Respondents’ comments fell into three categories, softness, comfort and freedom of movement, and shape and newness retention,” Hegedus said.

Hegedus also pointed out that Lycra low-power yarns, which were developed specifically for knitwear applications, have less “snapback,” allowing better control of garment weight and sizing.

Sheila-Mary Carruthers, global knitwear consultant for DuPont Lycra presented colors and fabrics for Spring 2001. Developmental fabrics showed a variety of constructions, weights and textures all knitted in yarns containing Lycra from global resources.

One group of soft sheer fabrics, knitted with Supplex®, polypropylene, acrylic, rayon or cashmere with Lycra, had a touch of metallic glimmer. A clear, mid-level color palette was shown in shades of cream, skin pink, clay mauve, turquoise and earth hues. Fabrics in this group were knitted with yarns from international spinners including Unifi/L Payen & Cie., Saint Lievin and Loro Piana.

Another group of fabrics has surface detailing and strong color contrasts. Dry-hand and rough textured fabrics, with knops and boucles are knitted in blends of Lycra with linen or cotton. Yarn resources include Wykes, The Lurex Co. and Rignasco.

A third range, inspired by pop art, features graphic prints, stripes and checks in bright shades of red, pink and green with touches of neutrals, black and white. Cauilliez Freres, Luigi Botto and Elate are some of the yarn resources.

One collection was created to demonstrate how a variety of different fabrics can all be made using the same equipment. Extra-fine merino/Lycra from Luigi Botto in a feather weight single jersey; a hairy, bulky fabric containing wool/mohair/Lycra yarns from Raumer; a thick crochet look in silk/Lycra from Filiatura Botto Poala; and a tuck construction in cotton/Lycra from Cauillez Freres were all knitted on the same Stoll machine.

The Technology Of Comfort

Presenting color trends for Solutia, consultant Phil Shroff said: “Fiber innovation continues, with technology coming up with modifications that take care of the concerns of modern society.” His examples are “antimicrobial, antifungal and antiodor properties for underwear and socks, antiallergens to provide freshness in home textiles, UV protection, antistatic and antimagnetic properties, moisture absorption and moisture transport for comfort, temperature control and muscle stimulation for performance enhancement and aromatics for relaxation.”

Shroff showed six groups of colors. A range of neutral tints is sandy in feeling. There is very little grey. Intense whitened pales and sherbet midtones are used tonally, with white as accent. There are eight vibrant shades in the brightest range. A second group of brights is warm, deep and spicy. Darks are “to be applied on satin finishes to look like liquid metal.”

Fabrics Shroff recommends include crepes and crepons with a crisp, dry hand, silky organzas, sensual satins and soft spongy surfaces. Tie-dyes, ikats and burn-outs are mentioned, along with double-faced fabrics and rubber touches.



Return To Elegance

Angelo Uslenghi, who heads a committee that sets trends for the Italian textile trade show Moda In Tessuto, held in Milan twice a year, previewed Spring/Summer 2001 to New York designers and press.

“Sloppy is out,” he said. “There will be a return to elegance and fluidity. There is a symbiosis of nature and technology. A new generation of man-made fibers has the look of natural fibers, and natural fibers are copying the easy-care and performance characteristics of man-made fibers.

“New finishing treatments give fabrics a light coating. They can be lubricated, moisturized, hydrated, lightly chintzed or slightly soaked with polyurethane. The hand is sometimes a bit soapy or peach skin to the touch,” he added.

Specific fabrics mentioned by Uslenghi include crepe, voile, fine jersey, georgette, mesh, rip-stop, chambray, etamine, cloque, canvas, muslin, drill and denim. Fabric surfaces are often bubbled and puckered, or they can be open with eyelet or laser cut patterns. Stretch is a given.

IFFE Under New Management

Advanstar Communications has taken over management of IFFE (International Fashion Fabrics Exhibition). The next IFFE, April 11-13, will have a new layout, new exhibitors and expanded display areas.

A group of trend forecasters met in January to select color and fabric directions to be shown at IFFE. Their conclusions confirm a return to color, ranging from soft cosmetic shades, earthy clay and terra cotta tones, creamy and sandy neutrals, full pastels with a high-tech quality, sunbaked darks and two ranges of bright colors.

Fabric choices include crisp sheers, open lacy looks, wrinkles, pleats, nylon rip stop, light taffeta, shantung, linen, poplin, twills and denim.

Metallics will continue, sometimes with a matte luster. Light chintz surfaces were also mentioned. Washed and faded surfaces and stretch are other trends to look for.

The committee noted patterns and prints are making a strong comeback. The range goes from blurred water color florals and soft botanical prints on sheers, to Hawaiian surfer motifs, madras plaids, tropical designs, stripes, dots and spots and summer paisleys.

Prints In The Spotlight

Spring/Summer 2001 will be a big print season,” said Massimo Iacoboni, organizer of Printsource, a show selling surface designs from more than 20 studios. “We were surprised by the turn out of buyers, considering the weather. The January event was our best attended ever.”

This sentiment was echoed by Eileen Mislove of Inprints, where 15 design studios exhibited prints and patterns. “Business was up 10 percent.”

London Portfolio, a group of eight British designers that exhibited at Inprints, noted that for the past two years embroideries have sustained their business.

The Colorfield, another Inprints exhibitor, also reported that embroideries are beginning to taper off, prints have returned. Small to large multi-floral designs, brightly colored tropicals, spots and dots and stripes are among their best sellers.

At Printsource, Tom Cody, who sells his designs to international textile companies and designers, agreed. “Embroideries are still selling, but 2001 is all about color, and that bodes well for prints. At the moment we are selling dots, tie-dyes, tropicals, op-art and pop art. There is a lot of interest in a refined, up-scale hippie look which is slightly reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s,” he said.

The Design Library, also at Printsource, has the world’s largest archives of documentary designs, some dating back to early 1700. In addition to selling antique swatches, designs are available on CD-ROM. There are three sections — florals, geometrics and ethnics — which include conversational and period styles. There are 484 color images in the floral section.

Italian Collections

A contingent of Italian textile companies, selling under the banner Texitalia Club, brought a first look at fabrics for Spring 2001 to New York. Although lines were incomplete and buyers were filling in with orders for Fall, what did turn up gave a reality check to forecasters.

Cotton knits, cotton/nylon wovens with a crisp or soft hand, and ultra-light faux snake are some of the new items at Nello Gori (Francesca De Vito). Technical fibers are also in this line, including Amicor antibacterial acrylic from Acordia and DuPont’s Kevlar.

Milior (Gordon Textiles) continues with technical innovation. They are showing antistatic and antimagnetic treatments.

At Picchi there is crinkle stretch, sheer coated fabrics, printed linen and many bright colors. Manteco Mantellassi (Andrew Koenig) has linen/viscose shantung, chambray, and bold stripes. There is stretch, double-faced and washed linen at Linea Emme (International Textile Workshop).

Linea Tessile Italiana (Horne & Weiss) has developed linen gauze with a very soft hand. They sell it printed with large scale boarder designs and enormous flowers. Linen denim is a fabric they introduced a year ago. They are showing it in two weights, dyed in shades of green or brown as well as indigo.

March 2000