FLORENCE — Despite the geopolitical challenges, exhibitors at textile fair Pitti Filati showed resilience and drive.
Pitti Filati returned to Fortezza da Basso, running June 29 to July 1, after being held since January 2020 at the Leopolda station, with 114 exhibitors, of which 18 came from the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, Romania, Peru, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand.
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While a return to a physical and mask-free three-day trade show was surely a relief, spinners expressed an overall sentiment of preoccupation spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has caused prices of energy, gas and raw materials to increase considerably, and shipping has become arduous.
Courtesy image / Pitti Immagine
“With the war, energy costs and production costs have spiked, but also with the recent closing down of important cities in China — all of this created additional complexity,” commented Cristiana Cariaggi, board member and sustainability director of Cariaggi, the family-owned yarn factory located in Cagli. Cariaggi was obliged to increase its prices given the inflation, which in May stood at a rate of 8.6 percent, its highest level since 1981.
“We have modulated the prices to help our customers, usually our price list lasted six or eight months, now we update it every three months,” Cariaggi said. Despite adversities, the company is estimating that 2022 revenues will be up 9 percent.
With signs of optimism and confidence in the future, Cariaggi proposed an expansive fall 2023 collection: fluffy bouclés and rich thick wools, wavy surfaces, and fuzzy tweeds were the protagonists. New features of the collection included the Dizzy worsted yarn made of 75 percent silk and 25 percent cashmere and the Foolish worsted yarn composed of 49 percent cashmere, 35 percent silk and 16 percent polyamide.
Sustainable production remains one of the pillars of Cariaggi, which recently renovated its factory to upgrade the energy systems and machines used and launched an app facilitating clients to search available yarns.
This is also the case at Botto Giuseppe, the historic yarn company founded in 1876. In 2021, Botto Giuseppe reduced CO2 emissions by 60 percent, as a direct result of the investments made over the last 10 years. Moreover, the fall 2023 collection is based on wool, cashmere and silk; fibers that come from animals and nature thus biodegradable and recyclable. “We created a traceability of the fiber and our cashmere has the content claim standard and the sustainable fiber alliance certifications, while the silk we produce is cruelty free.”
Talking about the effects of the war in Ukraine, Silvio Botto, chief executive officer of the storied company, said: “The problem of the supply was already present before the war because the cost of raw materials has risen exponentially in the last year, certainly the war adds a level of preoccupation.”
In 2021, Botto Giuseppe had a turnover of 51 million euros and the CEO argued that, “2021 had already been a better year than 2020 with a small rebound. [In] 2022 we are back well above the values of 2019.”
Consinee Group was the first Chinese spinner company at this edition of Pitti Filati and is the largest supplier of cashmere in China.
Founded in 1999 and following more than 20 years of continuous investment in leading technologies, Consinee Group takes pride in its forward-thinking approach to modern yarns. “The focus for us is and will always be sustainability,” said Vinko Rosa, brand manager for the U.S. and Canada markets.
In addition to having a first choice from Mongolian farmers for top-quality cashmere, Consinee is the only textile company in China that has a robotic-managed production. “This way, we are able to produce 24/7, 365 days per year. Eighty percent of our energy is solar and we also have opened a dyeing factory where we recycle 80 percent of the water and reuse it constantly,” Rosa said.
Since its production is based in China, the company has been affected not only by the war but also by the recent lockdowns in major Chinese cities. Rosa said “the cost of shipping has gone up 10 times. We had issues with supply chain and delivery because Shanghai was shut down for two months, so getting shipments out of China has been a challenge.” However, Consinee last year opened its market to Serbian and Bulgarian clients.
Geopolitical instability and lockdowns didn’t entirely dampen the mood. For instance, Filpucci’s vice president Federico Gualtieri argued that, “this year we are up 30 percent compared to last year,” and said, “we sell very little in Ukraine and Russia and don’t have direct clients.”
Inside the Filpucci stand, Gualtieri presented a varied collection. “Carded wool is the focus of our 2023 winter collection. This year, we have also added recycled alpaca and recycled mohair, and since the prices of raw materials have increased we decided to use the nylon instead of acrylic, and position ourselves in a higher market.”
On the other hand, Manifattura Sesia, which has recently been bought by Ethica Global Investments, produced yarns made with polypropylene, a particular thread that doesn’t absorb sweat and is odorless, a super wash and high-tech wool and recycled polyamide and sustainable wool.
Since the pandemic, many have switched to working from home, so there’s been an increase in the demand for more comfortable and cozy clothing, and loungewear products. This is why for this season, Sesia has decided to propose natural colors in the hues of beige, light browns and milky whites that go well with supersoft cashmere. Indeed, there was a prevalence of sherwool thin and dry wool, bouclé, mohair and silk, royal alpaca, baby alpaca, organic cotton and cashmere blended with brushed silk.
Relaxed and cozier yarns were also seen in the collection of Tollegno 1900, which offered super-stretch proposals such as fabrics in wool or in a wool and viscose, or a wool and Tencel-lyocell mix and with elasticity greater than 25 percent, ideal for the creation of technical and enveloping garments.