Textile Insight

September / October 2020

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Stitching Together Industry & Lifestyle Direction for the Season Ahead. By Emily Walzer ccording to the latest fore- casting reports, key trends for the season ahead include protective materials made in a sustainable way appropriate for healthy, social distanced outdoor activities with a low bar of fitness entry, that promote personal well-being and kindness toward the community. Beekeeping anyone? The pandemic has brought nature front and center, elevating industry efforts in circularity with a particular focus on recycling technologies and new thinking on waste. Indeed, waste is the performance ingredient of the future. Attitudes of resilience and self-sufficiency intensified during months of Covid-related restrictions will likely stick, heightening current interest in wardrobe repair, reuse, renew. Mask making ushered in a sewing machine boom and return to needle and thread skills; industry is using dead stock and leftover inventory from this lost season to debut limited collections. An area to watch in S/S 22 is the relationship of on-screen and in-person experience. Investment in virtual tech has accelerated but a big challenge remains in how to convey fabric tactility and quality online. The eco benefits of digital's lower carbon footprint is appealing, but so too is the human, hands-on feel of soft cashmere, raw denim, delicate down. Here's what a handful of forecasters have to say on the future of functionality: Material Matters Nora Kühner, industry consultant and color expert, highlights what she calls "appropriate functionality," that brings versatility and longevity, and "holistic functionality" in durable, repair-able, recyclable fabrics that combine protection from the elements while protecting elements of nature. "We need to rethink our relationship with nature and our industry outlook," stated Kühner, in a Functional Fabric Fair virtual presentation. She added, "We are flooding the planet with too much clothing that is too much the same, and throw away clothing of no value; 1M tons of clothing is discarded annually in Germany. Production is continuous and we need a new supply chain structure." Promostyl forecasts a material focus on plant-based fibers with particular interest in algae, citing as exam- ples Patagonia's work in this area with Beyond Surface Technologies and the biotech company Checkerspot creating oil from algae to develop a new DWR-finish. Also top of mind for next season is the use of caster bean oil, Ulex, a natural alternative for neoprene, revival of linen and advances in hemp textiles. Design Direction "Key trends of wellbeing, community, ethics and philan- thropy are all wrapped in a kindness bubble," explained Emily Gordon-Smith, director of consumer product for Stylus Innovation + Advisory. For example, "kind color," the emergence of natural dyes that take advantage of natural alternatives and local abundance such as flower blossoms and seaweed. Similarly "kind packaging" that is water-soluble and can "leave no trace." Gordon-Smith's colleague Dewi Pinatih, senior prod- uct design editor, reported heightened interest in third party certifications as well as the trend of mono-material product development. "In fashion, eliminating processes, stripping away un-essentials like trims and novelties and engineering material so that design of the garment is one fabrication is a huge trend." Both women, who spoke in conversation on a webinar hosted by Material ConneXion, agree that the age of digi- talization has arrived and will impact garment design and prototyping going forward. "The industry never would have thought about this two years ago. Now companies are investing in it," said Pinatih. According to a RANGE trend report, 95 percent of cloth- ing waste could be re-worn. Brands on the front lines of circular design and collaborations include WearWell, Good on You, Compare Ethics, ThredUp, Pangia and Shiner Goods adventure apparel for women. RANGE founder Jeanine Pesce, calls out todays "hand me down culture" and "legacy grade" product that has strong emotional connection. She also mentions the low inventory, low waste model of made- to-order manufacturing as a new frontier ripe for exploration. In 2020 backyards are the new backcountry as consum- ers increasingly seek ways to enjoy nature, and stay fit and active from the safety of home. Like beekeeping. l A IN THE MARKET | SPRING '22 The Future of Functionality 6 • Textile Insight ~ September/October 2020 textileinsight.com Trend boards from Promostyl "We are flooding the planet with too much clothing that is too much the same, and throw away clothing of no value." Nora Kühner Industry consultant and color expert.

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