saks fabric no 1
by Brian Lipton

saks fabric no 1Saks Fifth Avenue has chosen Biella-based mill Fratelli Tallia di Delfino as the winner of its fifth annual Fabric No. 1 Award, which commends the season’s finest wool fabrics from the world’s premiere textile mills. The company, which has been operation since 1903, has previously won the competition twice.

Each Fabric No. 1 piece, which includes ready-to-wear styles as well as made-to-measure suiting, will be identifiable by a custom number and label. They will be available in limited quantities for purchase at the Saks Fifth Avenue New York Flagship and Saks Chevy Chase.

To determine the winner, Tom Ott, SVP/GMM of Men’s at Saks Fifth Avenue, led a panel of SFA experts who evaluated submissions from over three dozen separate manufacturers based on fabric’s composition, construction, weight, hand finishing, cosmetic, comfort and value, and then voted on the submissions.

“Saks Fifth Avenue collection has become our biggest resource, and this is a unique opportunity to see the work of these mills and pick the best fabric selection each year,” says Ott. “We give them a couple of ideas of what we’re looking for, so they know which swatches to send. The keys for us are color and clarity, because those are what our customers immediately notice and what leads to a sale. Right now, customers are really into what we call Deco colors; there are a lot of bnghter blues and sharper grays that men are attracted to. It is also important how the fabric will feel once it’s made into a finished garment, but we’re not hung up on weight.”

In addition to thinking about Saks’ customers, Ott says the participant mills appreciate the award – and its event on October 20. “We really have fun with the presentation. There’s a giant trophy like a sporting cup on which the name of the winning mill is inscribed, and the mill gets a plaque to take back to their headquarters. I think the weavers really take pride in that prize, and we think it’s a really nice way to recognize our trading partners.”