Last week myself and a friend on my course took a very short trip to snowy Paris for SpinExpo - an international yarn, fibre and knitwear fair.
The entrance area of the show was a large display of the various trend predictions for Spring/Summer 2019, such as 'Ikebana' or 'Geodesic'. Within each trend area there were tables full of innovative knitwear samples from designers and students across the world. We were also given glossy brochures detailing these trends, with colour palettes and yarn suggestions.
The rest of the fair consisted of booths of yarn mills and knitwear manufacturers, most of whom were from China. We wanted to speak with the yarn mills the most, and requested shade cards and samples to be shipped back home at our convenience.
Some yarn companies offering 'eco' ranges made from interesting recycled materials or sustainable plant matter, such as UPW's Eco range, but most of these were spun with virgin fibres such as cotton or nylon, so I'm not sure if they are truly an eco choice (also not forgetting the shipping implications from China to the UK!). I couldn't find a lot of wool yarns, but that was perhaps because it was a Spring/Summer fair.
As a small designer-maker I haven't yet thought about outsourcing my manufacturing to a factory, let alone one in another continent, so sadly a large portion of the fair wasn't hugely relevant to me. However, it was a really valuable insight into the wider, global, knitwear industry!