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Survey of the European Yarn Fairs for Autumn/Winter 2009/10
published in Issue 136, July-August 2008
Ethical and ecological considerations represented a major theme at the European yarn fairs for autumn/winter 2009/10, and there was a strong emphasis on the naturalness of animal and plant fibres. At Italy’s Pitti Immagine Filati fair for knitwear yarns in Florence there was a special display devoted to new developments in natural fibres and to the latest methods of dyeing and processing in a way which is energy efficient and does not cause harm to the environment.
Sustainability is also being used to promote cellulosic fibres such as lyocell (branded Tencel), bamboo and modal fibres. At Expofil, the fibre producer Lenzing launched a new modal fibre variant called ProModal, following the launch of MicroModal at Expofil in February 2007. The fibre is being marketed for use in activewear clothing for people with sensitive skins. It is also being promoted for use in home textiles such as bed linen. Also at Expofil, India-based Birla Cellulose launched an on-line information forum called Green Knowledge Network.
As well as taking steps to minimise the adverse impact of its operations on the environment, Europe’s spinning industry—now much reduced and reorganised—has devoted itself to the production of premium yarns of the highest quality, luxury and performance. Even woollen yarn is available in qualities with a fineness and smoothness never seen before. Luxury fibres—such as mohair, alpaca and cashmere—are to the fore, and yarns containing alpaca dominated Pitti Immagine Filati. In the current eco-conscious climate, these luxury fibres benefit from the fact that they are generally produced by traditional, sustainable methods. Two other innovations, both from Maclodio Filati, are Milkofil—a blend of cotton and fibres obtained from milk protein—and Ingeo, a fibre derived from corn starch.
Economic conditions have been difficult for the past year and the future looks darker still. But this combination of luxury and ecology has given European spinners a weapon with which they can attack the market. Some spinners were showing signs of cautious optimism at the fairs, reflecting the fact that they feel equipped with the right products to keep business going.