Translucent foil finishes are the latest innovation from Welbeck Fabrics. The treatment can be applied to a variety of synthetic fibres, though at their recent launch the company chose to use as the base fabric a blend of 84 per cent micro-polyester and 16 per cent Lycra to create a 160g, 130cm wide knitted fabric which was then made into a sweater style top. It believes the most important outlet for this process will be manufacturers servicing the club and evening wear markets, and the fact that the foil-finished fabrics have to be hand-washed and then conventionally dried will not inhibit their appeal. Finishes are very much to the fore throughout the latest Welbeck range. From a purely fashion point of view, crushed, creased and crinkled surfaces now vie for attention with colour change and “shot” effects. On the functional front, in addition to water and soil resistant treatments, processes that permanently impregnate fabric either with fragrance or with agents that moisturize the skin of the wearer, and which were introduced experimentally last season, are now moving into a commercially viable phase, says Welbeck. The most obvious target for fragranced fabrics is women’s underwear. Interestingly, however, one of the first “serious” export inquiries to date has come not from the lingerie trade but from a leading European manufacturer of men’s underwear.