Despite the slow return to normality, reduced revenues within the fashion industry and a lower number of exhibitors and visitors, the last edition of Milano Unica held on February 1-2 has reached some encouraging results, and infused in its participants a sense of trust and rebirth.

Visitors at Milano Unica
Photo: Milano Unica
Visitors at Milano Unica
The show was held on two days only, it hosted 342 exhibitors (27% more than in July 2021) and was visited by 3,600 companies, 16% more than in the previous edition, of whose 2,850 Italian ones (10% more than six months ago), and 750 foreign ones (35% more than in July). Among visitors from foreign countries there were the UK, The Netherlands, Poland, The US and France. Leaving for vacation
The show’s main theme and trend forum for s/s 203 was inspired by the idea of vacations and set within a huge imaginary Milano Unica luxury hotel. Among the “destinations” of this trip visitors could choose among - Ecoresort, Ecoyacht and Ecopalace - three main trends meant to inspire sustainable holiday references like nature, the sea, the sun, the beaches and cultural cities. Also Milano Unica exhibitors have defined the main "trend destinations" where they feel the market is moving. The SPIN OFF has picked some most significant ones.
Milano Unica Trend area
Photo: Milano Unica
Milano Unica Trend area

Passion
Love was in the air during the last Milano Unica. While the show underlined the importance of education, especially for forging the next generation of entrepreneurs and designers, among the events hosted by the show, Brunello Cucinelli, visionary entrepreneur and founder, Brunello Cucinelli, kept a talk with fashion students helping them understand how to follow their inclinations. He said: “I think what counts in life is to follow own’s own crazy passion. Start creating your  ownbrand and follow it. Even if it won’t become very big and famous brand, follow it with care, love and your greatest passion.”
Brunello Cucinelli, owner, Brunello Cucinelli
Photo: Milano Unica
Brunello Cucinelli, owner, Brunello Cucinelli
Also, Federica Annovazzi, owner, Iluna, a specialised lace manufacturer, believes in the importance to follow one’s own passions, though for different reasons. She said: “Our times are dominated by the desire to do, go out and avoid the coziness to stand still. I think that to do all this one needs to follow a great passion, as we do in producing our fabrics.”

Iluna followed this direction by taking a more ecofriendly path and has been increasing its production of sustainable laces season after season. Since 2017, the company has been using only sustainable and certified Roica stretch yarns from the Roica Smart family of yarns and its sustainable products have increased from 3% to of 2018 to 52% of 2021. For the s/s 2023 season it has also developed a series of innovative products including laces completed with lurex. Others mix a chenille yarn with FSC-certified viscose and Renycle yarns, a product by Radici Group obtained by recycling nylon 6, a high-value material with excellent strength, softness and versatility.
Iluna lace
Photo: Maria Cristina Pavarini
Iluna lace

Uniformal
The Wool Lab, Woolmark Company’s inspiration platform, has presented various themes showing new directions for the use of wool. Among them there is “Uniformal”, a reinterpretation of the business apparel into everyday dressing, either more elegant or casual, depending on constructions and blends. Merino wool can be interpreted most differently as can be used for 3D textures when inspired by cotton and Oxford fabrics but it may also have more technical characteristics as it can be reinterpreted also in elegant and refined ways. “The wool shirt is an absolute new solution in menswear as it is stretch, it never wrinkles, is very lightweight and always comfortable. It’s a new evolution and more versatile direction of business wear  we have called ‘Uniformal’,” said Francesco Magri, regional manager Europe, C&A, The Woolmark Company.
The Wool Lab
Photo: Maria Cristina Pavarini
The Wool Lab
Maglificio Maggia, a historical company founded in 1780 and now a jersey specialist, has developed a series of 3-D knit effect materials that guarantee comfort and smartness. Besides, in this direction are its new fiber mixes New Silk, New Linen and New Wool that once they are dyed recreate special color effects.


Comfortability
Eurojersey, a specialist in producing Sensitive Fabrics by Eurojersey knit fabrics according to sustainable standards, has developed a new series of effects and prints that recreate embossed or printed logos, linen fabric surfaces and various other effects. Among others, they have launched a new fabric that looks and feels like cotton pique, but is a knit fabric jersey. Another development its offered looks and fades like denim when it is washed, though is as soft, lightweight and draping as jersey.
Sensitive Fabric Eurojersey
Photo: Maria Cristina Pavarini
Sensitive Fabric Eurojersey
Andrea Crespi, general manger Eurojersey, when asked about the next direction in fashion, he explained: “I like to define the times we are living in characterised by the need of 'comfortability'. Since when Eurojersey invented this material we understood that only insiders sharing our vision might have understood its true values. Our jersey is as elegant as a woven fabric, as comfortable as knitwear and as practical and a knit fabric. This is a versatile solution that can be worn in most different contexts and what the market needs. This is what we call 'comfortability'.”


New Naturality
Going back to nature and taking care of it continues to be a must, though some manufacturers have just developed some new natural materials that can truly help to preserve the environment as they are based upon it.
Among them for instance, Albini, through its Albini Next textile research hub, has developed Re-Oxyde, an upcycling project, which uses inorganic pigments based on iron oxides, obtained by recycling ferrous waste materials from the home appliance industry.
Albini Off The Grain
Photo: Albini Group
Albini Off The Grain
Another upcycling project is Off The Grain, and originates from the food industry thanks to the collaboration with Riso Gallo, a leader in the production of rice in Italy. This new type of dye is obtained from a by-product derived from the processing of a particular variety of black rice grown by Riso Gallo.

Hemp Feel is a new green softening product to be used in the finishing phase, done with a vegetable oil containing hemp oil. This product, which came into being thanks to a collaboration with Montex Italia, contains no silicone and does not release microplastics.

Grounded Indigo, also developed by Albini Group, is a natural indigo substance obtained from regenerative agriculture.
Albini Grounded Indigo
Photo: Albini Group
Albini Grounded Indigo
Piacenza 1733 is always looking for new fibers and has recently discovered a fiber with physical properties superior to natural fibers commonly used as cotton, silk and wool: the Himalayan nettle Urtica Dioica. This plant grows spontaneously in the Himalayan forests of Nepal above 2000 meters of altitude and is collected and defibered by the local population before arriving to Italy, where it is treated and combed. The result is a precious fiber, white, shiny and very long from which unique and refined strong and thin fabrics are obtained. It is also a soft fiber, 100% biodegradable and antistatic, ideal thanks to its infinite properties for those who prefer a "conscious textile".
Piacenza 1733 Himalayan nettle Urtica Dioica
Photo: Piacenza 1733
Piacenza 1733 Himalayan nettle Urtica Dioica

Performance
Marzotto has also developed B-Dynamic, a 100% natural wool bi-stretch performance fabric with unsurpassed anti-fold performance. It is designed for those who love freedom and dynamism to be worn in every moment of their life.
Marzotto
Photo: Marzotto
Marzotto
Marzotto’s Performance Suit is a machine washable wool fabric, offered in a wider selection of new patterns and colors. The Havana fabrics are characterized by the innovative combination of fibers like Tencel with wool and Tencel  with linen and are now treated with new finishes that make them perfect for leisure time.
Vitale Barberis Canonico Techno Natural
Photo: Vitale Barberis Canonico
Vitale Barberis Canonico Techno Natural
Vitale Barberis Canonico has developed its Techno Natural fabrics including Offlimits, materials obtained from mixing technical fibers with cotton, linen, hemp and viscose. This way, they become super stretch - both mono and bistretch - or mixed with a superfine recycled polyamide that guarantees very high tenacity.
Brunello's Bembassen fabric
Photo: Maria Cristina Pavarini
Brunello's Bembassen fabric

Fluidity
Brunello is an Italian specialist in the production of linings and other fabrics obtained from mixing various fibers together. Among them there is Bembazin, a fabric used for ceremony dresses, especially appreciated by African countries, made with cotton and Bemberg. “We think that fluidity is a must in these days. Fabrics are devised to be multiple-use - for a party or in daily life - but also typical feminine fabrics used for men’s apparel are used int he opposite way around,” commented Manuela Della Vedova, marketing and communication manager, Brunello.



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