Friday, August 13, 2010

Future of Fabrics

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When I was at Outdoor Retailer, I ran into a company that works with suppliers exhibiting at Summer Market. This is their take on the...
Future of Fabrics

Identifying and tracking trends is important to the entire supply-retail chain, especially when technology is impacting new product developments. Below you will find a summary of some of the current trends influencing the specialty textile markets.

TECHNICAL SPORTS TEXTILES Look for lightweight fabrics and apparel that multi-task, providing comfort, moisture management, antimicrobial protection, and more.\

Current trends in technical sports textiles include fabrics and apparel that provide comfort, manage moisture, and are lightweight and flexible.  But, more is being expected of fabrics.  
runner imageAntimicrobial technology continues it's strong growth toward becoming an "expected" performance characteristic.  Stain resistance/repellency is also gaining in popularity in some categories.  
Other value-added properties such as UV protection Environmentally sensitive fibers and fabrics also continue strong, with the use of more natural fibers and fiber blends, including bamboo, as well as driving the development of plant-based polyrmers such as Ingeo®, Dupont's Sorona®, and fibers made from soy.
  • Technologies allow fabrics to thermoregulate, such as Akwatek/Akwadyne and Outlast, control the atmosphere next to the skin,  controlling temperature and comfort. 
  • Fashion, style, silouettes and color elements continue to create interest with consumers.   The hand, or feel, of fabrics is toward soft and comfortable.  Fabrics with stretch provide both comfort and look.  Compression fabrics remain popular as a performance enhancement.  The development of advanced fibers, such as Holofiber, have also shown a positive effect on the recovery of the body from exertion, improving  circulation  and oxygenation of the skin.
  • Advances in construction include seamless knitting and welded & glued seams, which reduce a garment's weight, provide added protection from wind and rain, and enhance comfort.  Advancements in fabric  construction include developments of a "new" fleece product such as those produced by Concept III International.
Important Qualities/Products for Today's Technical Sports Textiles:
Moisture Management
  • Dri-release®
  • Innova®
  • Sorbtek®
  • Innova®
  • Akwatek®/Akwadyne®
  • Aegis Microbe Shield®
  • Visa Endurance®
  • AMY®
  • MicroSpike™
  • Innova AMP®
Water/Stain Resistant Fabric
  • StainSmart®
  • WR100X™
  • Parados™
  • Akwatek®/Akwadyne®
  • Outlast®
  • X-Static®
Odor Control
  • VisaEndurance®
  • BodyCare®
  • Dri-release®
  • Reflexx®
  • Comfortrel XP®
  • Sensura®

UV Protection
  • MynxUV®
  • Body Care®
  • Antex Knitting Mills - Green Line™ Fabrics
Welded Seams
  • Sewfre

Geotextiles There are more applications for textiles that are getting buried. Fabrics are used for filter drainage applications. Also Erosion Control, Temporary Silt Fence and retaining walls.

Inflatables Lighter weight, heavy-duty fabrics and bonded seams provide strength and durability that last. Think inflatable boats.

Lightweight Structures Tensile fabric structures are being used as permanent temporary space, with some coated fabrics having life spans of 30 years. Tensil fabric structures can span unsupported lengths of up to 150 feet and tensile steel cable nets with fabric can easily span twice that amount.  Air structures can span even longer distances with column free structures up to thousands of feet.

Pet Beds A niche market has developed in high-end pet accessories.
You can now purchase anything from a dog umbrella to a microfiber pet-drying towel.  Dog and cat products are the most popular.  However, animal/pet accessory products are also being developed for birds, rodents (i.e. mice, hamsters, etc.), and horses.  Some popular pet products include:
  • Pet Bedsartic ski jacket
  • Pet blankets
  • Pet Tents (instead of cages)
  • Pet Cushions
  • Car Seat
MEDICAL TEXTILES  The medical textile market is experiencing significant growth and is demanding much from it's textiles. Barbed Sutures, Wound Care, Prosthetic Vascular Grafts, Smart Bandages (muscle/skeletal repairs), Use of technical fabric developments for socks and gloves for diabetic patients to improve circulation.

HOME FURNISHINGS   Trends include the use of blended fibers for improved properties, and the use of stretch, texture, and color to add variety. Renewable fabrics are also important.

SAFETY AND PROTECTIVE   The trend is to comfortable, lightweight, ergonomically designed fabrics and apparel.

Source: Fabric Links