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Textiles report: Suppliers rise to the challenge offering choice and innovation

Without fabric and cloth, there is no fashion and no fashion business.

For this, our latest annual Textiles Special, we have looked at several different aspects of this fascinating sector of the industry. Despite a series of factors contributing to making life difficult for textile suppliers - price hikes of raw materials and tough competition from better-quality high street collections - businesses have taken on the challenge to innovate for spring 15.

From developing innovative yarn blends and upping their design credentials, to specialists diversifying their offer to broaden their appeal, fabric producers are providing clients with ever more choice. As our Mills & Boom and Spring Watch features also show, the appeal of British heritage is still popular in export markets.

In fact, British mills are having a good time of late. Those we spoke to on page ii say trade is strong, but they’re aware the Made in Britain tag could have a shelf life in some areas. Yet these businesses have been around for decades and have plans in place to keep adapting to market trends. As always, quality, design and service will bring sustained success.

The consistent allure of print is explored in our interview with David Eaton of print specialist Eyefix, while the latest hot trends at the ever-growing London Textile Fair are also examined. As our partner Cotton Council International underlines below, across the market there is an appetite for performance and sustainable fabrics. According to our experts consulted, businesses that can combine the two will prosper. Beyond the conventional, developments in neoprene and 3D spacer knits are tipped to be popular in coming seasons, while innovations in denim are also in the pipeline.

With so much price pressure in many market areas, the quality textiles sector is being forced to adapt. As this special report shows, the best mills and manufacturers are taking on the challenges put to them and rising to the occasion.

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