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The Flavours of Intertextile Shanghai Blends Resonate…Silk, Linen and Recycled Fibres in Demand

The Flavours of Intertextile Shanghai
Blends Resonate…Silk, Linen and Recycled Fibres in Demands


The aisles of the fair slowly awakening
to brisk business

A combination of current economic situations and a global conscientiousness towards the environment storming the apparel industry was apparent.While this spirit permeated the fair by large, among the rich mélange of products on display, we found silk, linen and recyclable fibres deserving a discerning eye. Considering that India is sourcing extensively from China, our team focussed on speaking to manufacturers mainly from China.

Linen

Among the many mills, Xinshen Group is dedicated to making a variety of linen that includes linen Tencel yarns, pure linens, interweaves, linen-cotton and linen-viscose as well as their new tight-twisted water-wave linen fabric. Equipped with 480 rapier looms, the company churns out 20mn yards of fabric. Said Joice, Representative, “Our vast variety in linen includes solid, yarn-dyed as well as printed fabrics which are used for different products such as shirtings, pants, skirts, etc.”

Another company offering a vast linen mix was Yixing City Huayu Linen Textile Co., Ltd. Their main products were linen- wool, linen yarn and linen fabrics, which traversed various combinations. Said Johnson, Representative, “We have buyers domestically as well as from places like India, the US, Germany, etc., and our products are used for different categories such as shirts, trousers and jackets. At the fair, we have seen that a lot of buyers have been asking for pure linen and linen- cotton in particular.”

TEXMAGN International was another exhibitor who was displaying a variety of linen, along with cotton and polyester blends for woven and casual shirts. A five year-old company who has as yet not worked with India, their Managing Director David Lu said, “We have seen one or two interests from India, but this has not resulted in tangible business for us yet.”

A specialist in linen, Jmtex Zhangjiagang Jiumian Yarn Dyed Weaving has been supplying, among other things, a lot of pure linen for the Indian market. Their other main product categories include compositions of hemp, ramie, cotton, rayon, acrylic as well as interwoven fabrics such as linen-rayon, ramie-cotton, linen-cotton-spandex, linen-polyester-cotton, linen-polyester-rayon, etc. Said James Liu, Sales Manager, “We have been working with India for the last 3-years. At IT Shanghai, our display includes cotton, bamboo-cotton, cotton-wool, linen-rayon, linen-polyester-rayon, linen-cotton, linen-hemp-ramie and linen-wool.”

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Innovative foil printing
spotted at Shanghai
Yidong Imp & Exp
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Foil printed pure linen (140gsm, 50 x 50) from Dongping Jinyuan Linen Textile
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A Play On Textures - A basket-weave Taimu Silk (84% silk, 16% wool) from Shanghai Taimu Silk


Joice of the Xinshen Group stands amidst brisk business going on at her company

At Shanghai Simptex, one of the hottest and most unique products shown was a 100% linen mesh, among their exhibit of yarn-dyeds and piece-dyeds in linen-cotton, linen-rayon, linen-silk, linen-wool, ramie, ramie-cotton, etc. Explaining the exquisiteness of the mesh fabric, said Geoffrey Chan, Representative, “This particular fabric is very special as weaving it is very tedious. It is difficult to weave as it is made at a very low density and hence has a tendency to get spoilt easily, but we are able to do it with great perfection.”

A company who has noted a significantly increasing demand for linen and ramie is Shanghai Shiran Linen Textile Jiangsu Jiangyan Jinyuan Weaving. Working with many Indian buyers, one of the company’s latest products on display was a 55/45 ramie-linen blend.

Dapeng Textile is another company whose main forte is linen. Commenting on the latest trends exhibited, Charlotte, Sales Manager, said, “The newest items are silk-linen, linen with foil printing and linen-lurex weaves. Recently,we have also been seeing a demand for large flowers and various other linen weaves.”


A hotselling linen mix from Jmtex Zhangjiagang Jiumian Yarn Dyed Weaving

An example of the innovative structure demand at Yixing City Huayu Linen Textile (100x40, cotton/ linen)

Dapeng Textile shows the continuing trend of
linen-lurex

Silk

Surprisingly, among the many exhibitors we spoke to displaying silk, very few were working with India, and in some cases were not at all. When asked why, Shanghai Taimu Silk’s Manager (Dept 1) Wilson gave a justification that was almost unanimous, “We don’t work with India because of the prices. I think our terms are not competitive enough and Chinese silk is much more expensive.”

However, this does not mean that all Indian buyers agreed. Found looking at silk fabrics for her vast business, designer Ritu Kumar said, “There is a lot of variety being shown in interesting silk blends such as silk-spandex, silk-wool, etc. As the quality and pricing is very good, I feel it is competition for India.”

Coming to silk trends, not everything that was shown was very trend defining or innovative and many companies were just showing fabrics that were ‘running’ or a regular part of their collections. For instance, burnouts- a trend from previous seasons- were aplenty, but did not have much innovation and were seen more as a staple in collections, rather than an actual trend. However, one outstanding trend in silk was cotton-silk and linen-silk.

Said Fong Wei, General Manager, Hangzhou Jing Tong Textile, “We have displayed a variety in silk-cotton, silk-linen, silk-organza, silk-wool, etc., and feel that there has been immense interest shown particularly in our silk-cotton and silk-linen blends. Also, while there are no prints, there is a strong liking for products that have a lot of metallic influences.”

Working with India since last year, Shanghai Hong San Tai Import & Export was exhibiting a vast variety of silks ranging from paj, douppion, gatpot and silk twill to silk-noil jacquard, satin-jacquard, spun silk, etc. Speaking of hot moving items, said Betty, Assistant, “Interests vary from buyer to buyer, but we have seen a general liking for silk-chiffon for evening dresses as well as animal prints with a little glitter along with Habotai silk.”

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Eastern Industrie's Judy Wang and Himanshu Modi pose at their stall for Apparel Online

There was also a lot of interest taken in silk blended with natural fibres such as bamboo, soya, etc. While silk-bamboo in particular received keen looks at some stalls such as Hangzhou Xinrui Textile there were some people who questioned its feasibility from China.

Eastern Industries, a company that does a diverse range of products (including cotton stretch, CPN, dobby jacquards, etc.), has a particular strength in linen-silk, cotton-silk and blended silk. Said Himanshu Modi, “Natural fibres such as soya, bamboo, etc., blended with silk are very much in demand. However, China is not geared upto supply such high-quality fabrics and there are few factories doing it. All our buyers are asking us to supply these kinds of fabrics and we are doing samples for them. However, transforming enquiries and samples into tangible orders is still taking time. Further, in tune with the natural element, some customers are asking for non-chemical dyes, which China cannot do. However, bamboo-knits, bamboo-linen and bamboo-cotton have done well at the fair.”

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Fountain Set's R&D Director
Dr Anthony YW Wan displays a new product from their Eco Series Range

However, while buyers were obviously looking at a luxury element that was interplayed through their interest in natural fibres, synthetic blends were not behind. Along with the trend for more casual, relaxed, comfortable and drapy fabrics, polyester blends were displayed with aplomb. Explained Himanshu, “With fabrics like CNP, buyers are able to get a comfort feel through the stretch that polyester gives, as well as the sheen and price control that it brings. This is also why silk-cotton blends are doing well as they can get the same look, feel and drape of silk, but at a more pocket-friendly price.”

While silk and linen were ablaze with blends of all types, this was one trend that was literally found resonating everywhere one looked. Dwelling on knitted materials in particular, Brajesh Singh Rawat, Category Head Knits & Accessories, ColorPlus said, “Everything is about blends as well as higher knits such as 120-180s. There are various innovative blends that include natural fibres such as bamboo and milk as well as cotton-silk, bamboo-silk, bamboo-charcoal, etc.”

Go Green

A concern for the environment was also evidently displayed. Lenzing proposed their principle ‘The Botanic Age’, which focuses on the raw materials used to make Lenzing Modal and Tencel. Lenzing Modal is extracted from beech wood and ensures enhancement of the soil, while at the same time makes artificial irrigation unnecessary. The second product, Tencel, is made from eucalyptus. Eucalyptus, which is known to grow fast, also does not require artificial irrigation along with pesticides and gene manipulation. While one conventional cotton T-shirt can be made on 6m² of land, ten such T-shirts can be made through the use of Tencel. Also, compared to conventional cotton production, the water usage while producing TENCEL is up to 100 times less. Being bio-degradable, the eco-friendly attributes of Lenzing fibres was made abundantly clear.

In the midst of sustainable and philanthropic efforts to preserve the environment, one category that made its presence definitely felt was recyclable fabrics. Yihua Unifi Fibre Industry, a joint-venture company formed between Unifi Asia Holdings and Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre Co., used ITShanghai as a conducive platform to officially unveil its product, Repreve, to the Chinese market. Repreve is the first recycled polyester yarn to achieve third party certification for 100% recycled content. Created from both post and pre-consumer waste, the yarn not only reduces energy consumption and conserves petroleum resources by offsetting the need to produce virgin polyester, it also eliminates the six steps required to produce the raw materials for polyester. Also, Repreve conserves around 135,000 BTU’s of energy per kilo ie., 4.17 liters of petrol.

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Yihua Unifi's Ning Hongjun displays
a product made with their newly
launched Repreve fibre
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Kim Liu of Shanghai Shiran Linen Textile
Jiangsu Jiangyan Jinyuan Weaving Co
along with a colleague

Said Ning Hongjun, Assistant to President and Senior Sales & Marketing Manager, Yihua Unifi, “Although the cost is a bit higher, we received a good response at the fair and we are targeting the more premium-end of active wear and sportswear. In 2007, we produced around 8 mn pounds and for 2008, we hope to increase our production to 15 mn pounds.”

One of the world’s largest circular knitted fabric manufacturers, Fountain Set (Holdings) Limited, also had the eco-friendly flavour in the air. As a part of its Performance and Eco Series, among the new products displayed were recycled cotton and bamboo-rayon. The recycled cotton yarns are made through a combination of combing noils and virgin cotton fibres together. Said Dr Anthony Wan, R&D Director, “Many people are looking for eco-friendly, recycled things, etc., and through this program, we are using fibres that are taken from spinning waste that is otherwise discarded or used for filling. Also, fabrics made with recycled cotton yarns have a distinctive style because of the random distribution of short fibres along their length.”

Continued Wan, “There is also a demand for natural fibres such as bamboo. Made as a substitute to wood, bamboo not only grows faster than trees, but it also doesn’t need too much water, pesticides or fertilisers. So we are using bamboo to mix with rayon that has similar features as normal viscose-rayon.”


Shanghai Yidong Imp & Exp exemplifies the trend for jacquard structures that are over-printed

Popular silk choices at Shanghai Hong San Tai Import & Export - glamoruos animal prints and Habotai silk
Blend (23% silk, 27% lurex and 50% cotton) and luxury trend at Hangzhou Jing Tong Textile Co Ltd
 
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