The Pitti Immagine Filati yarn exhibition was held from January 25 to 27 in Florence and presented the fashion yarns for the Spring/Summer 2002 season. There were 87 exhibitors of which 19 were non-Italian featuring globally 113 brands. This medium-sized exhibition is still fundamentally an Italian one where large firms side-by-side with small often very creative spinners show their collections and their forecasts of fashion trends.

The Italian economy
The Italian textile industry produces over one million tonnes of yarns representing 40 per cent of the total European production (2.4 million tonnes). Italian weavers and knitters produce 700,000 tonnes of fabric accounting for 25 per cent of the overall European production (2.8 million tonnes).

During the year 2000, the production indices bounced back to a significantly higher level with almost the same speed with which they dropped in 1999. Thus for 2000, the sales figures increased by 5.1 per cent in the woollen sector and by 9.3 per cent in the cotton sector. Production levels are back to their early 1998 levels. The Italian industry's high spirits are kept in check by the uncertainty concerning the Euro/Dollar exchange rate which would be detrimental to the Italian textile economy if the value of the Euro increased.

Italian yarn exports to the USA is a significant market, Italy holding a share of 6.8 per cent, but of course the NAFTA countries account for the largest export volumes. The US market is important for Italian spinners and the exchange rate of the Euro is crucial.

Value of yarn imports in the US (in million dollars)

1998
1999
% Variation Jan/Oct
2000/ 1999
% Share 2000
World
1256
1304
+16.6 %
100 %
Canada
340
361
+12.5%
27.6%
Mexico
193
227
+18.5%
17.6 %
Italy
73
75
+43.4%
6.8%
Germany
91
86
+15.8%
6.4%
Pakistan
62
56
+70.6%
5.7%
Turkey
26
42
+23.1%
3.1%
Thailand
45
40
+18.1%
3.0%
Japan
43
42
- 1.5%
2.7%
France
37
35
+0.6%
2.4%
Indonesia
37
34
+0.8%
2.2%
UK
37
28
+9.8%
2.1%
Others
257
266
+14.6%
20.4%

Source: US Dept. of Trade, data processed by Hermes Lab

Although according to the above statistics, Italy's share is only 6.8 per cent, its real share is much larger. If the orders placed by American buying offices for deliveries to other countries (such as China) for processing, then delivery to US are taken into account, then volumes could be double the amount recorded. During the period January - September 2000 compared with the same period in 1998 there have been important increases in value of Italian yarn exports to countries such as Hong Kong and Rumania.


Source: ISTAT and Eurostat data, processed by Hermes Lab

Yarns on show at Pitti Immagine Filati
The spinner Filatura di Grignasco, which has exchanged capital shares with Bugetti, a more specialised fashion yarns spinner, presented a very fashion-oriented yarn collection illustrated by unique knitted garments created by the designer Giuliano Marelli for the spring/summer 2002 season. The yarns of this fashion collection are now called "Bugetti by Grignasco" yarns and comprise blends of natural fibres with special fibres such as elastane and steel.

Nylstar, a spinning firm at the forefront of technical developments, boosted by the economic results achieved by its fibre Elité these last years, announced the implementation of a reinforced commercial and communication structure through the Rhotex Company, a member of the group that has always handled sales and promotion of Elité fibres.

Rhotex is one of the most important texturising firms in Europe with a yearly manufacturing capacity of 20,000 tonnes and sales exceeding 90m Euros ($83m). The designer Maurizio Galante presented seamless haute couture dresses made with Elité micro-fibres. This very "technical" designer sells digital dresses made with a "WholeGarment" technology developed by the Japanese knitting machine manufacturer Shima Seiki.

The German machinery manufacturer Stoll exhibited its latest knitting machine development, the 340 TC. This machine is capable of producing knitted tops and dresses without any seams, so offering high productivity for the firms and increased elegance and comfort for the wearer.

Du Pont de Nemours presented on its stand a new version of its Tactel fibre: the very high resistance Tactel HT, capable of producing garments that can withstand extreme outdoor sports while also being very lightweight and comfortable.

The Italian commission dyer Tintoria di Quaregna offered several innovative treatments such as "Stardust", a finish giving a sparkling effect on garments; "Make up", a finishing technique making use of cosmetic powders for a special colour effect; and "Essence", a treatment giving a specific scent to the textile - with the possibility of customising it for perfume brands.

By Marc de Laroche