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Archive for August, 2008

Eco-Fibers

There once was a woman  who decided her underclothes should be made of milk, her blouse of green wood and her skirt of the Spanish broom whose bright yellow flowers scented the summer evenings. She also desired a jacket that hung to perfection, and finally chose one made of corn.

Now this may sound like spinning an improbable yarn. But teasing out fanciful threads from unexpected fibers has become a thriving industry near the northern Italian city of Brescia. “We cannot compete with China in terms of cost and bulk for basic products,” said Romano Bonadei, co-founder and past president of Filartex, a yarn-spinning company that focuses on high-end yarns. “But we can hold our own when it comes to producing customized yarns for clients whose needs we take care of,” from concept definition to communicating with weavers “we know will do our product justice. We sell a service, not a yarn.”

Today cotton cultivation ranks second only to corn as the world’s most polluting agricultural product.

Filartex has created a solution to the problem in a line of naturally dyed yarns made from hand-picked organic cotton, as has another company in the Brescia area – Maclodio Filati. Testing in both these companies’ well-equipped laboratories has shown that fibers unstressed by chemical substances have 10 to 15 percent greater absorbancy to dyes than conventional cotton. So dyeing requires lower concentrations of the color, and finished textiles are easier on the skin.

Maclodio is breaking new ground. The company has started spinning yarns made from cultivated wood fiber registered as Lenpur, an American trademark for which Maclodio has exclusive distribution worldwide, except in Japan.

The timber, Canadian silver fir, is harvested according to ecological criteria, and the yarn produced by the company’s method is not only extremely smooth, but also wears well in hot or cool climates. It has the coziness of silk, the feel of cashmere and the freshness of linen. The fact that Lenpur absorbs water so readily and then releases the dampness into the air makes it useful as light, silken toweling.

Milkofil, another yarn by Maclodio, uses spinnable fibers obtained from casein, the white, odorless protein from which cheese is made.

Fibers were, in fact, first obtained from milk in 1935, when fascist Italy was bent on pursuing a policy of autarky, a commodity self-reliance aimed at avoiding international trade. Under names like Lanital, Aralac and Merinova, these yarns replaced wool until the postwar period. By the 1950s, however, such substitutes had been happily forgotten as an embarrassing blip on the national fashion conscience.

A few years ago, Beringheli’s team rediscovered the process and began testing it. They found that milk fibers are soft, brilliant, anti-bacterial, absorbent and humectant – in other words, the milk protein contains a natural lubricant that keeps the skin moisturized and smooth, and the absorbing power of the yarns draws dampness away from the body, stabilizing body temperature. Maclodio registered Milkofil as a trademark in 2007, and a major European producer of baby and children’s wear will be using the yarn in its future collections.

Maize is the source of another fiber that can be woven for the production of some impressive fabrics. The American firm Cargill Dow of Minnesota has registered its process and supplies the fibers that Maclodio turns into the yarns used for a silken-draped jersey fabric.

Collaboration with research centers in Italy and Romania has led to the discovery of an environmentally friendly process of enzymatic maceration of the harvested plant that produces some promising fibers. Initial tests suggest that the yarns will be similar to linen and hemp, but 75 percent lighter, with the added boon of absorbing dye better than linen does.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2009 to be International Natural Fiber Year.

Source:IHT

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Pantone Selects Color of the Year for 2008:
PANTONE® 18-3943 BLUE IRIS

Pantone, Inc., the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the des

ign industries, selected PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris, a beautifully balanced blue-purple, as the color of the year for 2008. Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.

“From a color forecasting perspective, we have chosen PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris as the color of the year, as it best represents color direction in 2008 for fashion, cosmetics and home products,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays.”

Pantone Selects Color of the Year for 2007:
PANTONE® 19-1557 TCX Chili Pepper Red .


Pantone Chilli red

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The word urban is thrown about so casually nowadays that it is hard to determine what it actually means and whether it means the same thing in every context.

There has been much debate in the music industry about the word urban actually acting as a euphemism for music of black origin, however, the dictionary defines it as of or living in a city or town. So what does the word urban actually mean? And more importantly, what does it mean in the context of fashion?

For the purposes of the UK Urban Fashion Awards, the word urban has been taken to mean the culture that arises in cities and towns as a result of the fusion of different cultures, lifestyles, ideas and attitudes.

Urban Fashion is edgy and reflects lifestyle, attitudes and individuality. Unlike mainstream fashion, anything goes in the urban fashion world and designers are not pressured into conforming to trends. This scene is a law unto itself and trends change with the wind. Inspiration for urban lifestyle trends comes not from the media but from those trendsetters, those individuals within the scene that lead. Those that turn ideas into action. Those who refuse to follow conventions. These are the people that direct the urban scene.

Urban Fashion does not bow to the trends dictated by mainstream fashion. As its central themes are individuality, going against the grain and youth culture, it is an industry which is evolving very rapidly and whose path and trends are somewhat unpredictable. Influences are varied and numerous and include American, British, Asian, Caribbean and African culture, rock, pop, hip-hop, indie and dancehall music. The skateboard culture, youth culture and mainstream fashion also influence urban fashion. All these influences and many more have given rise to a rich fusion of colour, design, style and attitude, which has created the unique and distinctive UK Urban Fashion scene. This scene is also quite distinct from mainstream fashion because the designs are more practical and are, therefore, more likely to be worn on a day-to-day basis, which is to be expected in view of the fact that the word urban is often thought to be synonymous with what is happening on the streets.

In conclusion, urban fashion is real fashion, style that exudes individuality and attitude and is what the ordinary fashion savvy shoppers are wearing right now

source: www.uufa.co.uk

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