Milano Unica: Growing Interest In All Specialist Wools

You are here

Milano Unica: Growing Interest In All Specialist Wools

Relocated to Rho, the modern airy exhibition centre in Milan with a space age look, an optimistic air permeated Milano Unica earlier this month.

Made in Italy manufacturers were confident, and there was a feeling that internationally customers are beginning to recognise the value of high value well designed fabrics, bolstering the movement to more value in the market for sustainable clothes, made in a responsible way.

Wool is well placed to profit from this market focus. For AW 2017/18 there was a great deal of animal fibre and in particular wool appeared in many forms, sourced from various places. Wool encompassed Merino of course, principally from Australia and New Zealand and South America, and also unusual, speciality wool from less prevalent breeds. Drago the Biella mill, well known had sourced Welsh wool from the Western side of the British Isles exploiting its special qualities of natural colour in fabrics for jacketings and suits.

Escorial, the pure blood line of European sheep still preserved in New Zealand and Tasmania, is marketed as an exclusive wool with particular fibre qualities. Less well-known breeds of sheep were used by British mills, acknowledging that the end users are interested in the back stories of the manufacturing, history and particularities of the ingredients of fabrics, many with a long history of appreciating its special qualities.

Some Italian companies stated they are keen to bring back long disappeared wool sheep in the North of the country, a trend suited for small runs of unusual, good quality fabric, which is the focus of many of the companies. It fits in with the desire to produce unusual fabrics, a trend well developed at Milano Unica.

Colours were deep and warm, jewel colours of dark red, browns and in some cases green coming along in surprising ways to enliven classic patterns. Brushing, felting and distressing the surface of fabrics was done in 100 per cent wool, sometimes with cashmere or alpaca content to give it an extra warmth factor.

Traditional suitings have been pepped up by making the colours involved a lot more bright, or with a greater degree of contrast, geared towards a younger audience which appreciates the re-coloured staples of the wardrobe. fabric designers developed weaving techniques and used colour for unusual versions of classic patterns, Loro Piana showed Super fine wool with alpaca, with circular motifs on fine wool for the women’s luxury market, others using double face techniques to enable finer wools to be used in heavier weights. London’s Dashing Tweeds presented signature flamboyant and coveted fabrics for modern urban tailoring. 

Jacketings were a focus of interest for both men’s and womenswear. ‘Americans love jackets’ said a Reda spokesman showing a cool collection of darks and recoloured country fabrics. Generally, many of jacketings were checked with large windowpane checks of colour often on green or brown grounds. some with smaller gingham designs in wool weaves destined for urban wear, sometimes to be worn with jeans or non-matching trousers. Large herringbones or Prince of Wales checks and stripes made classic designs look new and bold.

Formal suitings continued to favour bright blue as well as navy, often been made more technical by the addition of membranes or coated inner surfaces to provide performance features for a seemingly classic suit. Many heavier weight woollen fabrics were destined for coatings, but some could fit into furnishing and interiors, a growing area for wool.

- Janet Prescott

Find a laboratory near you

IWTO Newsletter

Stay up to date with IWTO - subscribe to our newsletter today.