Milano Unica, digitised as e-MilanoUnica Connect, gathered some of the biggest names of Italy and Europe and beyond on its digital platforms with 225 companies altogether. These included the Japan and Korea Observatories.

Idea Biella, the specialist suitings area, could be said to represent the most upmarket collections of menswear fabrics, with particularly strong collections from Italy and the UK.

Meanwhile, summer wool made its presence felt at Premiere Vision. PV’s customary analysis and trend information made much of eco attitudes, including natural plant or wool based materials. As with MU, the quest for less harmful finishing and enhancements was also notable.

Digital shows keep the ball rolling towards wool

By Janet Prescott

Covid once again kept trade fairs in the realm of the digital. Below are our top five takeaways from Milano Unica and Premiere Vision.

1. The demise of the suit is greatly exaggerated

As far as wool is concerned it was good news in a difficult market as it showed that the so-called demise of the suit has been greatly exaggerated, especially in fine high- quality worsted; the example of the innate qualities of wool to be comfortable in all climates.

Today, garments have to provide even more different elements for the wearer to put together to be comfortable, as both men and women have become used to less restrictive clothes in 2020, resulting in the use of supple light fabrics and soft natural fibres.

Customers, particularly generation X and Z mix and match and there is a real feeling for tweeds, recoloured Prince of Wales, houndstooth and herringbone designs, re-set to inject unexpected colour elements.

Designers predict that after the most severe lock downs and home working consumers welcoming freedom will dress up, and that colour and texture are the quickest way to achieve this with maximum impact – more on both of these, below.

Colour and bold design dominate classic high quality worsted fabrics as a younger generation re-sets the suit; jackets including colourful Harris Tweeds worn with classic matching trousers, or with jeans, chinos, or plaids.’

Read Next: Lightweight Wool and Why We Can Wear It in Summer

2. Wool scores well in sustainable materials and practices

The trade is keenly aware that customers, including young people, are keen to increase their knowledge of less harmful production avoiding noxious chemicals for finishing and they turn attention to social standards for workers in low-cost countries, with a considerable push to more local manufacture.

Sustainable materials and practices are still a top concern for most; wool scores very well in certifiable areas, and this is extensively signalled by the exhibitors and repeated frequently in the captions.

Ecological attitudes and social responsibility have extended the reach of the sustainable industry, according to pioneers in the area Botto Giuseppe. Innovator in wool, Reda has launched a Digital Green collection for 2022. John Foster extra fine Merino collection is completely sustainable, as are the rest of the fabrics, likewise William Halstead’s new collection of 2ply and 3ply wool.

3. Wool shines in ultrafine

Shine and transparency are themes of the season in as people start to dress up again. Exhibitors are responding: in ultrafine suitings at Milano Unica the elegant shine was often interpreted in a uni-colour such as blue or light brown, with a touch of silk, while Tollegno 1900s wool suitings achieved a special 3D effect.  Lanificio Cerruti fittingly reintroduced the word ‘debonair’.

4. Summer wool for 2022 is bright, light, and full of colour

Colour is the driving force of the newest collections in a celebration of optimism, which is corroborated by cautious news from the big retailers and e-tailers in Europe. Spring Summer 2022 favours lightweight yarns and fabrics in light and also very bright colours, shine, and many decorative aspects.   Summer wool is mentioned frequently.

Soft, light, but not necessarily thin, yarns form part of the mix; combed, fluffed up and airy. Self-coloured patterns and fancy stitches for wool sweaters in Premiere Vision-led colour shades including blue, from pale turquoise to bright oceanic tones and a lot of red, purple, orange, and pink.

5. Wool can be casual

The casualisation of fashion continues but it is carefully assembled.   Summer suitings in mixed yarns can feature wool as majority fibre joining synthetics for shine or with large colourful windowpane checks and disrupted patterns.

Touch is a major aspect, inspired, say designers, by a lack of tactile experience during distancing.  Blends of natural fibres and summer wool, heavily adorned and embellished, were trailed in webinars and exhibitor collections. Flashily Seductive was the name given by the PV fashion teams to one of the sections, it is ideal for making classic garments look quite different and eye-catching.

Knitwear is keeping its pole position as providing maximum comfort, discovered under lockdown. Knitted designs are a fashion favourite, whole garments worn next to skin, or chunky traditional knitwear reinterpreted in soft Merino for instance, reinterpretation being one of the major design directions.

Real Wool News from the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO)

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