Suppliers and buyers at Spinexpo Shanghai (March 13-15) were optimistic about the coming season. Part of that is a result of the fair’s unique spirit, which combines innovation and inspiration on both the design and technical aspects of the knitting industry.
One of the key benefits of Spinexpo Shanghai is that it has become a key platform for spinners and knitters to reach out to China’s leading domestic brands.
“China is continuing to grow, it’s a very important market. It’s no longer just about foreign brands; local brands are now the focus for consumers. If you go into a mall you’ll see that it’s the local brands that have the prestigious shop locations, whereas before it was the foreign brands,” said Jacky Chen, General Manager at Yarns & Colors, a China-based spinner and knitter.
Most other suppliers agreed, although many are still struggling to figure out how to make order out of China’s chaotic retail supply chain.
On the cost side, everyone was feeling the pressure from rising materials prices. “People who want 100% wool garments will not accept an alternative so they will pay a higher price. The strategy for brands is to make merino more interesting so that we raise the value of the product, rather focusing only on the price,” said Hans von Schuh, Managing Director Sales at Suedwolle (Germany).
“Brands are now accepting higher prices for merino yarns. Some are looking for blends with other fibers to lower the price, but also to add value,” said John Liu, Vice President at Xinao (China).
Bestsellers for Spring '19
After so many seasons of being a top trend, metallics are starting move out of the spotlight. They are still an important part of mainstream market collections for SS'19, but in a more subdued way - less sparkly, changeant effects, and new colors.
The newest direction is clean surfaces, a move away from the highly textured surfaces that have been important for the past seasons. Monotone is a key theme in ready-to-wear for the season, however knits run the risk of looking too basic without the addition of even a small pattern (at hems or necklines) or a little creative stitch construction.
Softness remains a key element for all yarns and knitwear, with plush yarns (especially chenille) being a bestseller.
Fine counts (12 - 16 gg) are still selling well, as are chunkier coarse gauge yarns.
Sustainability continues to come through in yarn through the use of natural fibers and recycled materials.
Overall, the mid to high end knitwear market looks set to see a reasonably good SS'19 season.