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Knitting / Apparel

A New Beginning

Fabric Ireland unites textile industries while ushering in innovative fabric collections.<B>By Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent</B>

Premiere VisionBy Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent A New BeginningFabric Ireland unites textile industries while ushering in innovative fabric collections.Mergers and NPOs are not limited to Wall Street. At the most recent Premiere Vision textile trade show in Paris, announcements of new alliances and new products were as noteworthy as the changes in color and fabric directions. Fiber companies and associations selected Premiere Vision, Europes most widely attended and prestigious textile event, as a launch pad to broadcast news to world buyers. There were more than 40,000 trade professionals from around the globe at the Spring/Summer 2001 show.Fabric IrelandForemost was a joint announcement by the Ambassador of Great Britain, Sir Michael Jay, and the Ambassador of Ireland, Patrick OConnor, regarding formation of Fabric Ireland, a development program joining the textile industries of Irelands politically divided North and South.Objectives of Fabric Ireland are two-fold. Product development and design are one. The other is to promote, market and reinforce the image of Irish fabrics. The challenge, said OConnor, is to produce contemporary fabrics that meet the needs of the garment makers, and most importantly, the customer, while retaining our rich heritage and tradition of craftsmanship.Cooperation of this nature can bring tremendous business benefits. It also brings tremendous benefits in terms of deepening bonds of mutual understanding between the traditions on the island, OConnor continued. We are confident, given the route mapped out in the Good Friday Agreement, and given the commitment and determination of the Northern parties and the British and Irish Governments, that a way through our current difficulties will be found. The objective remains to ensure peace, prosperity and partnership for all the people of the island of Ireland.Fabric Ireland was agreed between business development bodies Enterprise Ireland, the Industrial Development Board of Northern Ireland, and the International Fund for Ireland. Program management will be handled by the Irish Linen Guild.Linda MacHugh, director of the Irish Linen Guild said: We are known for quality and service. There is a perception that we lack creativity. Ireland is a young country with a booming economy. Textile and clothing manufacturing accounts for 20 percent of our employment, with a turnover of £1 billion annually. Fabric Ireland will present a modern Irish image. We have the skill and experience to deliver inspirational fabrics throughout the world.Novelty LinensSix of the companies taking part in Fabric Ireland exhibited in the linen sector at the most recent Premiere Vision. Others, noted for woolen fabrics and tweeds, will be showing their lines at the Fall/Winter show.One of the most innovative Irish linen producers is John England. His new line contains a lot of novelty. There are 100-percent linens and blends with Lycra®, lurex, cotton and polyester. A sparkle linen fabric has been foil-printed. It is also available in a washed version, which has a softer hand and just a touch of glitter.Ultra-sheer linen/lurex is stiff and bends. There are glazed linens, sheer open weaves with spiral shell embroidery, pinch-tucked linens, printed pleated linens and linen canvas. John England also shows permanently crushed washable linens and coated linens with a paper touch.Emblem Weavers has casual linens with tumble-wash finishes, permanently creased linens, and loose, open weaves. There are color reverse double cloths with iridescent effects, chambrays and ultra-light linens ranging in weight from 160 to 210 gr/mtr. In addition to 100-percent linen, there are blends with Tencel®.Stretch linens, glazed linens with a soft hand, suede touch emerized linens, seersuckers and linen/lurex glitters are selling at Moygashel. The line goes from sheers to rustics in 100-percent linen and blends. There are waxed surfaces and rubber-touch prints on a variety of base cloths.Rustics sampled well at Ulster Weavers. Some are woven with cotton or Tussah silk roving yarns, others are nubbed and slubbed. Teflon-coated, stain-resistant linens, reversibles, soft paper-touch linens, burn-outs and embroidered edged linens, were of special interest.Stain-repellent linen was also a feature at Baird McNutt. Vibrant color in traditional tartans woven with 100-percent linen and blends with wool were a feature of the John Hanly line.Variant Adds Comfort StretchDuPont selected Premiere Vision as the European venue to launch Tactel® ispira. It is bi-component nylon 6,6, combining two different polymers into each individual filament. The yarn is flat during weaving and self-crimps in the fabric dyeing and finishing process, creating fabrics with a natural hand and soft touch. Tactel ispira fabrics are compact, have bulk and have been engineered to create subtle stretch for improved fit and ease of movement.Tactel ispira can be blended with cotton, wool, viscose and other Tactel-effect yarns. It can be used in a variety of garments including pants, skirts, jackets, shirts and active/outerwear. Nine European weavers are currently sampling this fiber.Cellulosics With A Difference

Austrian cellulosic fiber producer Lenzing introduced two fiber variants, ProModal and ProViscose. ProModal is a blend of 70-percent Lenzing modal/30-percent Lenzing lyocell. It has a crisper hand than modal, higher tenacity and improved pilling. Available in microdeniers, its expected to go into woven fabrics and knits.ProViscose is a blend of Lenzings viscose and lyocell fibers. It is being promoted as the worlds strongest viscose fiber. At the mill level, it is easier to process and finish. There is less breakage during weaving than with traditional viscose products. Patrick Decouvelaere of the French mill Decouvelaere gave it a thumbs up.He said that ProViscose is easy to use, and does not have the wet elongation problems of viscose. He also likes the touch of fabrics woven with ProViscose.Fabrics woven with ProViscose have low shrinkage so they can be machine washed. This fiber is aimed at the cotton market for home furnishings and apparel end-uses.At another press conference, Mark Lejman, chief executive, Acordis Fibres, noted that production of Tencel has doubled to keep up with the demand. Earlier this year, the first line, producing 10,000 pounds, reopened at their Mobile, Ala., plant. The second line will start up in May. A 60-percent increase in demand is expected in the European market.Merger-mania is in reverse at Acordis. Divorced from Courtaulds, and with Akzos interest at only 20 percent, Acordis is the largest independent fiber producer in the world. Two-thirds of its sales go to industrial and specialty textiles.Angelo Uslenghi, trend consultant to Acordis, said the consumer today wants clothing that is relaxed chic. There must be comfort, functionality and allure. The trend is still casual, but it is more refined.This was in evidence at Miroglio, where the commitment to Tencel is so vast it claims its own division. Michael Lew, Tencel product manager, Miroglio, said sampling at Premiere Vision was especially strong in casual sportswear. Fabrics are available solid and printed, woven with 100-percent Tencel and blends.One fabric Lew pointed out is shantung woven in a blend of Tencel/linen/cotton. It is available indigo-dyed and washed. There are linens containing the same fibers which come printed or solid-dyed. One-hundred-percent Tencel fabrics include high-twist sheer gauze, seersucker and cross-dyed chambray.Botanical garden prints are, according to Lew, among the best sellers. There are a lot of coordinating prints, some with a textured appearance, including lace looks. There are folkloric prints, vintage tropicals and Oriental influences, some coordinate with printed plaids. Animal skin prints, batiks, jungle ethnics and engineered boarders and panels are other designs at Miroglio.American designer John Bartlett was looking for traditional fabrics. I am re-working the past, he said. I like a natural look, like what I grew up with, such as a great madras, but I want it with stretch. Im looking at linens and lightweight wools that can be worn year-round.A lot of the traditional wool weavers anticipated his request. They showed ultra-light, soft woolens and linen blended with wool, cotton and spandex. At Johnstons of Elgin (Windsor) there were feather-weight cashmere tweeds and intimate blends of cashmere/linen with a soft hand and linen look. Both weighed in at 250 gr/mtr.At Robert Noble, firms like Oxford and Hickey Freeman were sampling silk/linen and wool/silk/linen blends. Jones New York and Anne Taylor showed interest in a wool/cotton gauze. There are iridescent colors, plaids and coordinates in this line. Most of the summer-weight fabrics have a slick or linen-like hand.Linen In The Wool SectorLocated in the wool sector, de Vaudricourt showed linen alone and in blends. It was difficult to find any wool here. A lot of the linens contain Lycra and have a puckered effect. A double-puckered fabric with glitter is woven with linen/Lycra/polyester/ lurex. Pleated fabrics are done on crushed surfaces and pebble textures and come in a variety of sizes.Other novelties at de Vaudricourt include blends with copper. Some have a floating copper yarn running through them. There are burn-outs with irregular pattern effects, indigo-dyed linens, silk burlap, linen/viscose/Lycra blends that resemble bubble wrap, coated sheer linens and summer velvet woven of linen/viscose/cotton.Isoule (Barn Hill) showed summer-weight wool blended with polyester and Lycra with a chintz finish. Other fabrics in this line were woven with linen. Seersuckers, sheer open weaves, lustered patterns and classic checks are some of the most popular.Italian wool weaver Picchi was also showing a lot of linen. There are double-faced patchwork patterns, rustic weaves, ethnic looks woven with thick space-dyed yarns, sheers in linen/nylon blends, novelty gauze and slubbed, color-reverse linens with blanket fringe.The Belgian linen firm Libeco-Lagae is showing linen/wool blends for transition. These run from crepe weaves to a poodle cloth in a blend of linen/merino wool/mohair/nylon. For summer there are sheers, leno weaves, iridescents, yarn-dyed patterns and satin surfaces. Some are all linen, others are blends with Lycra, Tactel or modal. Finishing is soft-washed or crisp and dry.Spanish weaver Tomas Prat has a soft, silky fabric in a blend of 63-percent linen/37-percent promix, which is a fiber made from cows milk. It is reported to resemble viscose. Other fabrics in this line contain linen, alone or in blends with nylon, cotton, viscose or metallic fibers.Prats line includes double-faced jacquards with linen on one side, cotton on the other. Sheer sandwich cloths have lurex in the middle for diffused glitter. There are lustrous stripes woven with cellophane yarns, eyelash effects and raffia embroideries. There are tie-dyed linens, canvas, coated and resin-treated fabrics. One dense, tightly woven calendared linen has a lively hand.Tan, brown, burned red, mustard and all shades of green were reported to be best-selling colors at Linea Tessile Italiana (HorneandWeiss). Linen gauze, silk/linen/viscose sheers, sandwich cloths with straw in the middle and sheer fringed knits are some of the base fabrics. There are indigo-dyed linens, tie-dyes, oil prints and chalky rubber prints. A lot of the prints are tonal and large in scale.Linen and prints are highlights at Josef Otten (Filtex). There are soft-touch linens in a variety of weights both knitted and woven. Linen/modal lenos, printed linen denim with an aged look, cotton/linen or viscose/linen ribbed knits, coated linens, paper finish linens and printed linens are some of the offerings.Large-scale flowers and leaf designs, circles, exotic ethnics and abstract motifs are tonal or brightly colored. Printing techniques include burn-outs, laser cuts and pearlized treatments. One new printing technique developed by Otten and done on crepe georgette has the look of a jacquard design.Luxury SilksNiche market customers looking for ultra-luxe novelty did not resist the $100-a-meter price for screen-printed heavy silk jersey at Paul Dulac (Fitzsimmons Fabrics). Embroidered silk chiffons are appliqued with satin bows or feathers. Stretch silk mousseline is puckered and flock printed. A double version is spangled on one side. One-hundred-percent linen jersey is embroidered with raffia and topped with feathers or bows.American designer Pamela Dennis liked what she saw at Bucol (Solstiss USA). There is an old-world quality with a sexy edge, she said about a double-faced satin laminated on one side. It is like a fabric my grandmother wore, but updated. The glazed side brings it up to now.There are 250 new colors in Bucols Spring line. American buyers reacted to double-faced shantung and three-color iridescent taffeta. Red-orange shades are especially popular. For those who found the $140 price for warp-printed silk taffeta high, a blend with polyester is available at $40 per meter.Lace producer Solstiss introduced a sporty, younger line called Disco Trend. Lace for day and beaded net with ethnic patterns or classic diamond designs were some of the best sellers.Stretch chiffon, creased and pleated sheers, double-dyed jacquards, multi-colored flocked dots on netting, metallics with the look of crushed aluminum foil, marble vein prints on silk, lacquered treatments and heavy silk crepe are among the most heavily sampled fabrics at Bianchini Ferier (Fitzsimmons Fabrics).Innovative KnitsKnitted fabrics follow the same directions as their woven counterparts. They are transparent, double-faced, glitter with metallic shine, are coated, printed, burned out, stripped and dotted. At Welbeck, there is a lot of stretch. One double-sided iridescent sheer knit contains 20-percent elastane. Fragrance encapsulated knits are selling to the intimate apparel and sleepwear industries. Another version contains aloe vera which is released by friction against the skin.At Marioboselli (HorneandWeiss) there are linen/lurex and linen/silk Lycra blends. Circle prints interconnect with circle burn-out patterns. Metallic jacquards, ultra-light jersey, lacy cottons and printed pleated fabrics are in Mariobosellis Top line. The Active line is using high-tenacity nylon 6,6 industrial yarns for abrasion-proof mesh textured knits and breathable insulation yarns blended with Lycra. One new fabric, which is reptile printed with silicone, has a wet, rubbery touch.There is a lot of color at Mabu Jersey (Nuvotex). There are sheer/ opaque stripes, tucked stripes and pebble-textured engineered stripes. Lattice patterns with eyelash edges are sheer/opaque look. Linked circle jacquards, shell patterns and open cobweb designs were popular. Sheer fabrics are knitted with silk, cotton or cupro, sometimes blended with Lycra.Stretch denims at Billon Freres, knitted in blends of cotton/Lycra and nylon/cotton/Lycra, were selling to swimwear designers. Fringed crochet knits in linen/cotton/Lycra were picked up for beach cover-ups. Blister stretch nylon/polyester/Lycra double cloths, laser cut-outs on velours and pointelles with tear-off edges to give garments a finished look, are other novelties.PerformancePaper-touch fabrics, Teflon and resin coatings, brushed treatments, soft chintz finishes, crinkled surfaces, soapy and rubbery handles, color reverse double cloths, sandwich sheers, subtle glitter and novelty jacquards were shown at AGB (Fitzsimmons Fabrics). Cotton, linen and blends with viscose, nylon and Lycra are woven into a variety of base fabrics, from ultra sheer shirtings to heavy canvas.At Schoeller, a firm noted for technology, there are a lot of new developments. In addition to reflective yarns and paper yarns (ATI April 00), there are comfort stretch fabrics in blends of metal/silk/nylon, antimicrobial fabrics containing aramid blended with Cordura® nylon, microfibers or cotton. Some have a soft, silky touch, others are stiff and slick.There is wax-finished, rip-stop nylon, nonwoven fleece with a polyurethane coating, transparent stretch and a lustered stretch jeanswear fabric. Schoellers Cristine Jenny said that fabrics offer so many new and different hidden benefits customers are asking for hang tags. How else can the buyer know if a fabric is antimicrobal, UV-protective, moisture-release or light-reflective, she said.Aware of the hidden characteristics and qualities of fabrics of the 21st century, Premiere Vision has published a Performance Code Guide. It includes 16 keys and pictograms which will identify each invisible feature.At a press conference, Daniel Faure, chairman, Premiere Vision, announced PreView, a New York workshop where about 150 Premiere Vision exhibitors will have new collections for Fall/Winter 2001. The event, which he referred to as a working session more than a fabric exhibition, will be held July 11-13 at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street. May 2000