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Texworld USA: Activewear Brings Innovation and Comfort to Eco Products

As activewear continues to infiltrate all pockets of fashion, eco textile suppliers are stepping up their game with versatile, on-trend Tencel and Tencel-blended materials, which were on full display at Texworld USA this week.

Overall, suppliers at the show reported seeing more demand for functional fabric in the eco realm, including materials with cooling and thermal properties.

Victor Almeida, textile engineer for Buhler Quality Yarns Corp., noted that his customers are increasingly interested in moisture-management cotton as garments are being worn in and out of the gym.

Activewear’s ongoing popularity is driving Everest Textile Co. to develop more performance materials. For the first time the Bluesign-approved company is adding Lycra into its nylon yarn dye process for stretch, as well as reflective material into its recycled polyester, which is intended to offer runners and cyclists protection at night. For a fashion-meets-sport look, the company is exploring embossed fleece.

The company is also building out its tech-savvy product with i-Film, a recycled polyester-based material that is “electrical resistant.” The material can be implemented into glove design, allowing the wearer to use their touchscreen phones and tablets while continuously wearing the glove.

In some instances, color is used to create an activewear story. Suppliers are developing new ways to add gray–a key color to the sporty look–into their assortments.

Steve Greenberg, chairman of SG Knits, Inc., noted that the group’s newly introduced heather gray Tencel-based fabric is attracting attention from customers. “We’ve always been limited to solid colors with Tencel, but we’ve started to work with a factory in Turkey that is equipped to produce colors and patterns,” Greenberg said. The material is available with and without Spandex.

Heather gray is forecast to be an essential color in Autumn/Winter 2015-16 men’s, women’s and children’s apparel. The color is pegged for everything from designer sweatshirts and sweatpants, to insets on coat and jacket hoods.

Likewise, Daenong Textile’s strong selection of faux indigo Tencel product for the season offers consumers a breadth of denim-inspired options as expansive as the blue jean market. Highlights included heather indigo, patterns, stripes and colors spanning stonewash to midnight blue–casual looks that mimic the ongoing trend for knitted denim styles.