Last week I traveled to Florence for Pitti Filati. That’s a bi-annual business fair where the Italian spinning mills present their products to the fashion business and more specifically to the buyers of the big fashion companies. They’re the people who buy what is needed to make next season’s garments, from tissue over yarn to buttons, clasps, ribbons and any other haberdashery item you can imagine.
In the fashion circus this business fair is actually preceded by another one, in Paris: Première Vision. That’s the place where the colours for the new season are shown for the first time to the fashion industry. Mind you, in September 2017 they presented the colours for spring-summer 2019 and it’s all very secret: visitors are not allowed to take pictures (which everyone sneakily does anyway) and if you want to take the colours home you have to buy a horribly expensive booklet.
At Pitti Filati, which is half a year later, there’s no secret. The news is out in the open anyway, so the entry price includes a sampler with yarn in the new colours, they have an extensive online media gallery and they have a place where you can take samples from big cones of yarn. It’s quite funny to see all the people wind small balls of yarn around their fingers …
It might look as if nobody knows where the colours come from, but that’s not entirely true. There are expensive fashion bureaus like WWD where hot shot consultants know all about it: they study trends, which enables them to predict the new trends, which they study of course. Obviously they’re always spot on.
For a small company such as Greener Wool there’s not much to find at such a gigantic industry fair. Real buyers are looking for tonnes of produce and kilometers of fabric. Once you mention sustainability and organic certification, most companies have nothing to offer. If they have, it’s almost never as a stock service (where they keep some stock in-house so that small companies can buy small quantities directly from them). So if I’d like to buy this marvellously soft yarn in these splendid colours that is entirely GOTS certified, then there’s the beige and the black in stock service. The other colours though have to be produced especially for me. That’s starting at 40 kg, per colour. Now that makes for quite a few skeins of yarn!