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Knitting / Apparel

Fall '09 ECOFocus

Paris shows focused on quality and the environment.

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

A t the recent apparel textile trade shows in Paris, including Première Vision/Expofil and Texworld, quality and sustainability were trends of note. There was early sampling of products knitted or woven with organic and recycled yarns. Buyers sampled updated classics and performance fabrics with a clean, elegant, luxurious look and hand, even at higher prices.

At Première Vision, Peter Ackroyd, director general, British Wool Textile Export Corp., noted that exhibitors were apprehensive coming into the show because of the economy. "They leave very happy," he said. "Orders for high-end fabrics surprised us all. It says to us that traditional, top-quality fashion is selling. Cheap, throw-away looks are out."

Texworld offered an Eco-Textile labeling guide that explained eco-textile certification standards. The guide provides information about organic textiles, textile production processes, and fair trade.

Texworld’s color trend display presented fabric swatches from show exhibitors.


Wool stands were crowded at both shows. At Première Vision, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) positioned Australian Merino wool as a sustainable, affordable, luxury product that offers comfort and high performance. CEO Craig Welsh said one of AWI's goals is to change the perception of wool from scratchy to soft and silky. Another is to show the versatility and easy-care attributes of Australian Merino.

AWI's MerinoFresh™ demonstration featured a Merino wool suit in the shower. After a rinse to remove water-soluble stains, the suit will dry in two to four hours, and is ready to wear, creases intact, no ironing needed.

J.H. Clissold & Son Ltd., England, showed quirky novelty wools in luxury blends with cashmere, alpaca or silk. Traditional suitings with design innovation are "nature-friendly," according to Malcolm Campbell, managing director. One group of suiting fabrics, called Lunar Lana, has been woven with titanium-treated cashmere yarns to give fabrics a subtle bronze luster and provide thermal comfort and moisture wicking.

Clissold suiting fabrics designed for travel are woven with high-twist compact yarns. The Aquaret group is moisture-repellent. Star of Stripes fabrics are woven in a blend of Texas wool and Australian Merino.

Hinnigan, Lochcarron and Samuel Tweed, all based in Scotland, shared a stand at Première Vision. According to Brian Hinnigan, buyers are looking for quality. US buyers responded to coating- and jacket-weight fabrics woven in rich, dark colors with lighter highlights. One group, inspired by artist Sonia Delaunay, sampled well. Other fabrics are woven with soft Donegal, Merino or organic wool. Some contain comfort stretch. There are tweeds and tartans woven with bouclé yarns.

Lochcarron showed sophisticated tartans in updated colors. Novelty tweeds woven with twisted yarns, vintage tweeds and wool/cotton crinkled tartans are other fabrics of note. Mohair at Samuel Tweed is richly colored and woven into graduated stripes, oversized checks and traditional tartans. Bright slate blue and lime green are two popular colors.

Along with the thick tweeds and bouclés it is known for, SA Jules Tournier, France, introduced its Palais Royal luxury line. Woven with cashmere, alpaca, angora, silk and other precious fibers, the line features 100-percent alpaca small herringbones that have a feathery soft hand, 100-percent angora yarn-dyed checks embossed to give a subtle pattern and hairless surface, and tweeds with knitted silk ribbons running through them.

Paylana S.A., Uruguay, has a new Green organic wool fabrics collection with flannels and gabardines that often contain Lycra®. Its British collection features tartans, tweeds and micro-patterned jacquards. The company's best seller at the show, 100-percent wool canvas, was shown with crepes and ottomans that have a clean cotton-like touch.

Wool weaver Hayazen Textile Co. Ltd., Japan, showed wool blended with silk, angora, alpaca, cashmere and mohair. Mohair-blend suiting fabrics are silky, supple and hairless. Thick basket weaves and subtle patterns give surface interest. A wool/alpaca blend called Ostrich has raised dots. Other fabrics resemble feathers, snakes or furs.

Shadow stripes and tonal patterns at Picchi S.p.A., Italy, are woven in wool blended with raffia and jute.  There are waffle weaves, houndstooth patterns, and weave changes. Double-faced fabrics are heavily brushed on one side. Tartans are color-flecked.

R Allegri & F.lli. S.r.l., Italy, showed clean surfaces with small woven designs. Patterns are subtle. There are jacquards woven with twisted and tied yarns, high-rise twills, soft chenille in unobtrusive patterns and wool/cotton/Lycra seersucker.

At Texworld, two Chinese woolen and worsted wool weavers showed classic coating- and suiting-weight fabrics. Tianjin's double-faced coatings reverse from charcoal to black or check to solid color. Some are all wool, others blend wool with cashmere.

Youngor Group Co. Ltd., a vertical company and the largest textile company in China, spins and weaves worsted fabrics of Australian wool. The company is also into cotton, from growing through the supply chain to manufacturing men's shirts.  Youngor has joint ventures with Marzotto S.p.A., Italy, and Itochu Corp., Japan, that showed classic worsted men's suiting fabrics of super 100s and 150s.

Left: High-rise twills were among the fabrics offered by R Allegri & F.lli.
Center: Jackytex showed this pleated fabric at Première Vision.
Right: This delicate burn-out was included in Marioboselli’s collection.


At Première Vision, quality was a factor with knitters. At Jackytex S.p.A., Italy, seasonless classics and luxury items are available with low minimums. There are mélange effects and yarn dyes in cashmere, felted wool jacquards for jackets and coats, pleated fabrics, thick crochet knits, shaggy wool/mohair blends and touches of metallic yarns.

Marioboselli Holding S.p.A., Italy, is knitting organic wool into jersey, interlock and Ponte di Roma fabrics. Other fabrics pointed out are viscose crepes for dresses, delicate burn-outs and heavy jacket-weight wool knits.

Bel Maille, France, showed Missoni-styled zig-zag patterns, novelty crinkle stripes, checks, tartan jacquards, and stripes knitted in black with one color. Orange shades were noted. There are a lot of coordinates. 

Sellares, Spain, has a diverse line. Performance fabrics contain micro ceramic capsules that release moisturizers. Double jersey is heat-treated to melt one yarn, creating a ribbon look. Other knitted fabrics have floating yarns running through them, inserts of shantung yarns, or thick wool between two sheer layers for novelty pattern effect.

Texdam, Spain, showed heathers with puffy raised surfaces, jacquards and prints. Dot-dash patterns, multicolored and scaled stripes, and oversized skin prints that combined animals, reptiles and flowers turned up on viscose/Lycra jersey.

A best seller at A-Girls Co. Ltd., Japan, is ultralight and soft with a slight sheen, knitted of a 92-percent cashmere/8-percent Lycra blend.

A cotton/cashmere knit reverses from sweatshirt fleece to brushed cashmere. Wool jersey has a silky look and touch, and heathered viscose jersey is slightly hairy with a wool touch. 

At Texworld, Bordo Textile Ltd., Turkey, showed organic linen, cotton, bamboo and wool knits in a range from light single jersey to fleeces. 

Bel Maille showed a lot of coordinates and orange shades at Première Vision.


Lyon and Como silk weavers showed innovative lines with no end to creativity. French weaver Bucol's ultralight, color-reverse twills woven with a Lurex® warp coordinate with silk chiffon, georgette, heavy satins, and jacquard checks and stripes. Moiré is woven with Lurex, and double-cloths reverse from silk to wool.  Prints are ultralarge and abstract done in one color on a dark ground. 

Ratti S.p.A., Italy, showed a line that has a rich, clean look. There are glittering taffeta; degradé printed velvet; and thick, soft printed wool that has a spongy touch. Plaid-printed panné velvet and sparkling amoeba shapes on black taffeta were pointed out. Another Italian weaver, Mantero Seta S.p.A., prints elongated black flowers on ultralight wool glen checks woven with twisted yarns. Silk chiffons and satins are printed with flowers over tweed grounds.  

Jacquard weaver Weisbrod Zuerrer, Switzerland, has created fabrics with subtle effects. There are silicone-coated, pleated stretch fabrics with matte/shine cracked surfaces, dimensional bubbles that glow, deco metallic patterns, leather looks, glossy fleeces and fil coupés. 


Two denim producers at Texworld report comfort stretch is selling. At Raymond Uco Denim Pvt. Ltd., India, there is bi-stretch woven with Invista T-400 or with Dow XLA™. Twelve-ounce weights and dark indigos are popular. New are resin coatings and cotton blended with linen or coconut fibers. Tai Yuen Textile Co. Ltd., Taiwan, reports soft finishes in 8.5-ounce weights are popular for women and 11.5-ounce denim with sandblast antique finishes for men.

At Première Vision, Schoeller Textil AG, Switzerland, was selling breathable, water-repellent fabrics in a variety of weights. There are leather-touch coatings, traditional nylon taffeta with a light membrane, back-coated yarn-dyed wool tweed, and a laminated and bonded pinstripe. One of the most popular is a light, sheer, drapey membrane-backed cotton voile that has a rubbery touch.

DyStar Textilfarben GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, a first-time exhibitor at Première Vision, dispensed information through the supply chain, to Première Vision and Expofil exhibitors, and to apparel and retail buyers. Of special interest were its low-impact, eco-friendly dyes and its dye  recipes to attain identical colors on a variety of fabrics. 

At Texworld, Rieter Textile Systems, Switzerland, demonstrated what can be done with its new spinning machines. A video and fabrics made from Rieter spun yarn were shown.     

At Expofil, Murata Machinery Ltd., Japan, promoted its Vortex® spinning machinery, which produces yarns that have reduced hairiness and pilling, and improved color retention.   


Cotton Incorporated, Cary, N.C.; Lenzing AG, Austria; and Supima, Phoenix, exhibited at Expofil and at Texworld.

One new development at Cotton Incorporated is Dry Touch. Fine, high-twist yarns give woven fabrics a papery, dry hand; knits have a crepe touch. Other recent developments have been adopted by spinners and major brands. Expofil exhibitor Hermann Bühler AG, Switzerland, introduced SwissCotton® BeDry yarns, based on Cotton Incorporated's Wicking Windows™ technology. Other Cotton Incorporated developments include ultrafine 60/1 and 60/2 cotton yarns shown in fabrics that are singed and hairless, peach-skin-finished, discharge-printed and fast-drying. Bühler is selling piece dyes with mélange effects in its Rainbow collection.

Lenzing introduced its eco-friendly ProModal® fiber, a blend of Tencel® for performance and Lenzing Modal® for softness (See " Lenzing Launches ProModal® Blended Fiber," this issue). Expofil exhibitor  Karsu Tekstil, Turkey, is selling ring-spun yarns of 100-percent ProModal and blends of ProModal with cotton, wool, silk and cashmere. Yarns are going into products ranging from T-shirts to denim and terry towels.
At Supima, there was special interest in organic Supima® cotton.  Fabrics and garments on display showed a variety of products and resources. A wear-testing project at Auburn University is underway to differentiate performance of Supima over ordinary cotton.

At Expofil, RadiciGroup, Italy, and its Gastonia, N.C.-based subsidiary, RadiciSpandex Corp., introduced  polyester and combination yarns of polyester/nylon/spandex that are bacteriostatic and offer ultraviolet protection. Black RadiciSpandex yarn is selling well globally.

Yarns At Expofil

A-Dress, France, is selling yarns to knitters for Winter 2009 and weaving yarns for Summer 2010. Best seller for winter is Cashmino 90, an ultrafine Merino/cashmere blend. Bouclés and soft metallic yarns also were shown. New for summer is Pondichery, a dry 100-percent ramie yarn. Other yarns blend ramie with silk or bamboo.

Organic cotton was pointed out at Bühler, where Supima is selling, despite its price. Bros. International (HK) Ltd., Hong Kong, is selling organic cotton, recycled cotton and polyester. At Tearful, Portugal, organic and fair-trade cottons are available in blends with linen or wool and in mélange colors. New performance yarns at Tearful contain Outlast®, Seacell® and Dri-release® for thermal comfort, antibacterial performance and moisture management.      

French spinner Safilin sells linen yarns for knitting and weaving. New are thin, twisted yarns. Some are treated with wax; others are bleached before spinning. Soft, thick linen yarns with a slightly wooly touch are selling for flat-bed knitting.

At Sofila, France, silk/Lycra yarns are selling to Hermès for underwear. There are new dyed yarns of  silk/Modal/Lycra. At the next Expofil, Sofila expects to introduce plant-based Eco-Nylon, under development for three years.

November/December 2008