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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
OFF FARM 17 Adapting to the ever changing demands of the fashion industry and consumers has made versatility and innovation two of the most important features of Italian worsted spinning company and Woolmark licensee Safil. These characteristics of the family-owned company have enabled it to grow, since its establishment in 1954 by Fernando Savio, to become one the world’s premier producers of wool yarn. The company now owns the largest single worsted spinning mill in Europe, at Plovdiv in Bulgaria, with a production of 7000 tons per year and 630 employees. The headquarters of the company and its cone dyeing mill are in Biella, Italy. “The fashion industry is applying immense pressure on manufacturers to come up with new ideas for every season,” Safil Chairman Albert Savio says. “In our fast moving commercial world with trends sometimes coming like a change of weather, the exchange of information between woolgrowers and the apparel supply chain is vital. “Woolgrowers need feedback from the fashion industry as to what fibre they need to produce for the market. Likewise, designers and product planners need to be informed about how long it might take to breed the right sheep to produce that fibre. “Such messages have to be exchanged with the woolgrowers and within the industry to support innovation. Customers have plenty of choice and always expect a little more from a premium fibre such as wool!” “Without wool of the right quality an important part of the textile industry will be at risk. For example from our ‘intimo’ (wool for underwear) customer base, we notice an increasing demand for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified fine Merino wool.” Around 70 per cent of Safil production is wool, with Australian wool accounting for a significant proportion of that. Safil produces a wide range of high quality yarns for knitwear, jersey, weaving, underwear, hosiery and furnishings for leading international brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, J Crew, Gap, Mango, Zara, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cerruti, Lacoste, Armani, Gucci and Marks & Spencer. Mr Savio says that during its 60 years Safil has always aimed for “innovation through tradition” and, although there have been improvements in man-made fibres, there is a return of demand for natural fibres, particularly in sportswear. “The Australian wool industry has set the benchmark for many of the attributes associated with fine wool in the world today,” he says. “While the wool fibre has become a niche player in the textile industry, thanks to the consumer move into sustainability and appreciation of what the fibre can do, technically demand is increasing if we look at the number of places where it is used.” Alberto’s brother, CEO Cesare Savio says, in addition to innovation and quality, long-term valuable partnerships and experience are critical for Safil to address market demand. “Safil values being a Woolmark licensee because customers know and ask for the Woolmark brand,” he says. “The Woolmark Company has also been instrumental in facilitating contact for Safil with potential customers.” Safil also recently became a member of the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), which Cesare says is a reflection of the company believing industry collaboration, as opposed to working individually, is paramount. “To access the best possible industry information and to secure close enough contact to all woolgrowing countries would be too much of an effort for a company even of our size. Speaking as a group, working on standards together or joint wool marketing activities are likely to be more successful. “It’s important for more woolgrowers and brands to be directly involved in industry meetings, to share a positive vision and take confidence back to their businesses. With industry workshops and the information platforms of AWI and the IWTO, the link downstream in the textile pipeline is secured. “Wool promotion is absolutely necessary; the ways to do it ‘right’ will always be debated. It is essential to find a good balance for what can and should be achieved to secure the long-term incomes of woolgrowers.” MORE INFORMATION As part its 60th anniversary celebrations, and to celebrate its relationship with some of its key partners – including Ermenegildo Zegna, Modiano, the IWTO and AWI – Safil last year produced a 48- page magazine Celebrating 60 yarns old which is available online at www.safil.it 60 YEARS OF INNOVATION AND TRADITION SAFIL • Italian worsted spinning company and Woolmark licensee Safil is one of the world’s premier producers of wool yarn and owns the largest single worsted spinning mill in Europe. • The company was established in 1954 and was built on the philosophy of “innovation through tradition”. • The company believes woolgrowers and the supply chain should work more closely together to respond to the ever changing demands of the market. The largest single worsted spinning mill in Europe, located at Plovdiv in Bulgaria, owned by the Italian company Safil. The mill has a production of 7000 tons/year and 630 employees. RIGHT The Chairman and CEO of the family owned Italian spinning company Safil: brothers Alberto and Cesare Savio.