The leading Seamless knitting machine builder Santoni, showed a highly innovative range of sportswear at the recent Ispo show in Munich, the leading sportswear event in Europe. Here, the Italian company’s marketing manager Patrick Silva explains the Brescia based company’s strategy with regard to outerwear and in particularl sportswear.
“While Seamless underwear has grown formidably, especially in China – both in its domestic and export markets, establishing itself on the world market as a solid and ever expanding classic, we were very pleased to see at the recent ISPO Show in Munich this February 2011 that our market forecasts, our continuous R&D and our commercial strategies towards expanding Seamless to the Outerwear sector are beginning to make important strides not only in China, but all over the world.
We received a very positive sign of this at the Munich ISPO by seeing the presence of an abundance of Seamless items in the booths of many of the most important sports brands. These items were not only of the athletic type but also of the casual type. Moreover this trend was reflected in both Western and Chinese exhibitors’ garments.
On our Santoni booth, where we had a very conspicuous and constant flow of specialised and professional visitors from all over the world, we were able to show products made on our seamless machines, both of the Circular Seamless line and of the Compact Warp Seamless line (with an important addition of our Garment Length line in the traditional cut and sew systems). We especially brought to the Munich ISPO a collection of these various sportswear ranges to illustrate what we believe to be the inherent advantageous features that the Santoni machines bring to this very important field of sports-specific clothing.
Circular seamless program
As everyone is aware, the Worldwide trends for apparel are increasingly requiring clothes that combine comfort with hygiene and well-being both in one’s leisurewear, daily workwear, and in the field of active sports and fitness exercise.
The old myth about seamless being only associated with synthetic yarns has been undoubtedly quashed by Santoni seamless circular technology successfully using all types of yarn – both natural and man-made.
Also the necessary technical targets, so simple and particularly suitable for sportswear, are now being achieved by meeting the modern and specific needs of the sporting fraternity, made in the Santoni Seamless Way.
In the collection of sportswear items we presented, we concentrated on showing not only the use of natural yarns as well as synthetic ones (including uncovered elasticated yarns) but also those for obtaining those required technical targets. This demonstrated that Seamless is the ideal way to construct the garment including any of these following characteristics:
- moisture management for evaporation of perspiration
- compression areas that offer both body support and better temperature management
- padding thicknesses for greater body protection while still maintaining the all important moisture and temperature management requirements
- venting to remove heat from specific areas
- thermal pockets strategically placed to trap body heat, again in specific areas
These products shown, made on our latest Outerwear models of seamless circular machines, received a tremendous amount of interest from the visitors to our booth. They can be detailed as follows:
SM8 -TR1 products
Of particular interest were our very fine and light garments made on this machine in natural yarns, especially in wool and cotton. These are first layer items that have a soft handle, very pleasant in contact with the skin, have all the inherent technology typical of this machine in order to make openwork fabric to permit the effective control and management of perspiration, whilst maintaining an attractive garment appearance.
Excitingly, we also showed products knitted on this same model called second layer that were heavier items which incorporated body mapping technology. Our collection showed these heavier items having all those technical characteristics mentioned above with special attention to mock felts and specific transparent areas.
SM6-Rib 2 products
Here our products emphasised the casual or leisurewear side of sport clothes.
We exhibited some polos and sweaters made in natural fibres of wool and cotton as well as in plated fabrics combined with synthetic yarns like polyester. These sweaters were of great interest because they were in the finest gauges and produced at a very high productivity rate with the possibility of fabric knit structures in the latest fashion trends. In fact this machine was specifically designed for producing fine quality high production casual or sport knitwear in the most fashionable styles.
SM8 TOP 2, 40 gauge products
Part of the collection displayed at Ispo Munich was made with the brand new range of seamless fine gauge machines. This fine gauge possibility represents a technological breakthrough for a new dimension of seamless garment. The surface of the garment is smoother and lighter offering an incomparable feeling of comfort like a second skin.
Lightweight fit and seamless technology offer an increased feeling of well being to the final customer and new performance benefits for the sportswear market. A strong content of elastane in such products offer a new performance features in the field of functional activewear.
This machine is literally universal and can produce both classic casual wear as well as technical structured wear with floats and perspiration management zones as shown in some of our sample collections. It uses all types of yarn and has the added flexibility of being able to produce also underwear that can be worn indoors like outerwear, for example loungewear.
Seamless Warp Knits Program
We also demonstrated at the Munich ISPO one of our latest Seamless targets that we have been studying in the world of warp knitting, namely our compact warp knitting machine, model SWD 6/2J.
The major sportswear brands are always interested in warp knitted fabrics due to their two inherent fabric characteristics – breathability and non-run fabric structures.
Having now produced on our machine Seamless items with these fabric structures, visitors were especially interested to see these warp garments ‘free of any seams’ and produced in the futuristic ‘entire garment’ way with the least possible post-knitting finishing operations required.
Another feature of great interest in our sportswear warp collection was combination of mesh areas, body mapping with compression and support areas. All these features give a very promising potential especially in the specific Athletic and Active type of sport clothing.
In conclusion, this month’s Munich ISPO, has greatly encouraged our belief that Seamless and Sportswear go hand in hand and in many ways seem to be made for one another. The presence of seamless items in so many booths of so many well-known brands and the keen interest of the large numbers of visitors on our booth make us confident that Seamless in sportswear is going to be an ever growing concern with beneficial results for all concerned. So much so that we are also participating this month at ISPO China, which is Asia’s most important sportswear show, as ISPO Germany is the most important world venue for this field.
We were very grateful to the fine organisers of this exhibition and to all those visitors from all over the world that came to see Santoni Seamless Sportswear in our booth.”