German fabric weaver Lauffenmühle is forecasting a 2 per cent increase in turnover in 2004 due to an increase in capacity, and says it will produce around 23 million metres of fabric during the year.

This compares to a turnover of 90 million euros in 2003 and production of 21 million metres of fabric - equivalent to 100,000 metres of finished goods per day.

Lauffenmühle says investments of 5 million euros a year have helped expand its core leisurewear and workwear business, including new spinning technologies and a new pad system.

Distressed fabrics with an aged look set the mood of the company's latest collection which will be shown at Premiere Vision at the end of this month. In denims particularly the stress is now on faded qualities.

But equally new is the use of stretch yarns and particularly Lycra T400, as well as the introduction of jeans weights in deep pink, pale blue and grass green.

Stretch is also of major importance in the men's wear market along with cross dyed stripes and two-tone effects. Suitings and casual wear are offered in unusual pale tones, particularly pale blue further lightened with a white element. And as well as being light in colour this weaver is dramatically paring down the weight of men's wear qualities for the coming season.

The collection is completed by a selection of two-way stretch fabrics with satinised surfaces specifically for the female separates and dress trade. Again faded and washed out looks will play a major role in the fashion appeal of these fabrics," says Lauffenmühle.

By Sonia Roberts.