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Mills play safe for autumn 09

Prospects of tough trading have forced mills to respond with a raft of commercial offerings for autumn 09, according to the trends on show at last week's Milano Unica textiles fair in Italy.

The result is a continuation of looks that have already gathered commercial momentum with checks and painterly prints dominating the trends on show.

Checks were deployed on fabrics for men’s shirting, women’s tops and dresses and heavyweight tailoring fabrics. Women’s prints came in painterly styles, with abstract watercolour splashes.

Floral prints were still in evidence, with cleaner ditsy and retro styles dominating, as a vintage mood infiltrated the womenswear fabrics on show.

One exhibitor said the larger mills have become cautious: "It is more difficult for the heavy-weight mills, particularly the Italian companies that need to produce up to a million metres of cloth per month to justify their factory costs. They have to make sure whatever they produce is commercial."

Conversely, Laurent Garigue, owner of UK textile manufacturer Laurent Garigue, said the challenging climate will encourage mills to become more creative: "Fashion is not a 'well world' but that's not a bad thing – it's the slap in the face that gets the creative juices flowing. For too long it has been too easy for the textile mills to produce the same things and sell them without difficulty but now they have to up their game."

The organiser of Milano Unica confirmed the show is relocating to Rho, outside of Milan, for the September 2009 show after the sale of part of the current venue, Fiera Milano City.

The relocation takes the show back to the Rho Pero fairground where it was held in 2005. Exhibitors at the time bemoaned the bad transport links to the venue, but a spokeswoman for the organiser said the transport links have now been improved.

The next edition runs from February 3 to February 6 2009.

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