Filo 2019/20

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Bright Prospects for Wool at Filo for 2019/20

The first hints of fashion for 2019/2020 were shown at the Filo international yarn exhibition in central Milan February 21-22nd, which starts off another new season. It was as if a light had been switched on, with colour, texture, complicated weaves and slubby knits to show off the potential of yarns on offer for a lively winter season from spinners including Italy, Turkey, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, France and Slovenia.

The lead colours had morphed from the pastels of summer to something a lot bolder, spiced up with green, gold, orange, blue/ black and blue /red.  Colour, texture and knops, retro looks, and subtle stripes were shown in the ingenious trend area, where the yarns and fabric samples knitted or woven from various examples are shown on the same board. Weaving and jersey yarns featured raw white and top dyed melange colours. 

One of the most arresting statements relating to wool was to be found on the Sudwolle stand, a giant poster that ‘This wool was made for walking’, referring to the advantages of technical wool. It was conceived, they explained, to increase public knowledge that wool can be engineered by processes like mercerisation, the addition of stretch and other specific treatments to further enhance its inbuilt advantages, underlining its use as a serious performance product.

References to responsible production continued the eco theme from summer. Eco certification for yarn e.g. GOTS was common and various initiatives were quoted, essential at yarn stage if a final garment is to have full accreditation in store. Localisation is important; Olympias group talked of their Super Geelong wool, used solo or in blends with other rich naturals, from thick roving to fine counts, going from smooth regular looks to fancy effects for tweeds and bouclés. Others cited their choice of specific New Zealand wool.

 Brushed techniques were used to increase the volume and warmth required of a winter yarn.   Several designs relied on the natural colouring of the original fibre, animal and vegetable, particularly the varied shades of the wool of different breeds of sheep.   Many noble fibres were present this season, like mohair, alpaca, camelhair, cashmere, silk and vicuna or yak, all blended with wool, for example at Tollegno, Pozzi Electa and Luisa 1966.  Zegna Baruffa use exclusive fine Merino for their luxurious knitwear, sometimes mixed with noble fibres, creating new effects by their expenditure on research.

Any shyness about blending natural and precious fibres with flashy synthetic fibre has disappeared, though it is overwhelmingly a natural fibre based, upmarket exhibition.  Designers made the most of the tools at their disposal to underline the showier look important in some areas for the new season. Novel Lurex developments in clever reflective yarns, especially a new blue transparent yarn, attracted many admirers.  

Many seasonal effects were oversize; big looks with large slubs and brushed areas. Ilaria presented eyecatching fancy yarns for knit and weave, their reputation for unusual yarn justified with examples such as 80wool/20alpaca, and mixes of mohair/nylon/wool.

Filo’s conference held on the first day with ICE the Italian government trade agency and the participation of organisations in the supportive Italian Textile system discussed globalisation and the opportunities this represented.

 An upbeat message came through from visitors from textile mills, including some designers from wool weavers in the UK, who remarked favourably on the combination of colour and textures for the new season.

– Janet Prescott

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