Material innovation in the textile industry is driving sustainability forward in new and exciting ways, and attendees of Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA can experience the latest step in this journey at the winter show.
Held Jan. 19-21 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, Texworld USA will include a brand-new, one-day conference known as FASHIONINNOVATE that’s dedicated toward these textile improvements. FASHIONINNOVATE will host in-depth discussions on the technology and the tools moving the needle of advancement forward, including such things as materials that respond to environmental stimuli on their own without using robotics.
More mills are turning attention to these scientific discoveries to learn how to integrate them within manufacturing, making the show a valuable resource for buyers and sellers to learn what’s here, what’s coming and what’s possible.
“As I have said many times, sustainably and innovation are one and the same,” noted Jennifer Bacon, show director for fashion and apparel. “Textiles, fashion and apparel—from whatever spectrum you are seeing it from—are completely wreaking havoc on our planet. To know that this industry is the second largest polluter behind oil waste should be eye-opening.
“As we have a significant platform at Texworld USA, it is our responsibility to educate our audience of alternatives through innovation,” she continued, “because we know, in the end, it is going to be hard to get everyone involved to get on board.”
As part of this commitment, Texworld USA is placing a heavy emphasis on this year’s educational series, hosting a series of experts who will drive the conversation with fresh and informative takes on the most important industry trends. Programming will address such topics as bio-synthetics, digital tools and smart textiles.
The additional education means that the Javits show floor will feature an expanded number of featured areas, including Textile Talks, Explore the Floor and the Lenzing Innovation Seminar Series. A full schedule will be available soon.
A featured Innovation Showcase, meanwhile, will spotlight the materials, technologies and solutions that inspire and cater to growing sustainability standards. High-tech fabrics and apparel made for high performance are expected to be the material attributes most in demand at this year’s show.
“Material innovation is a known concept in general—this idea that the items we use in our day-to-day lives can be used in different, maybe even better, ways. The question is how innovation can be integrated into a fabric in a practical way,” said Bacon. “Of course, they are ‘cool’ but we are also shedding light to the practicalities and showing the ways through innovation that we are able to reduce our footprint through technology that wasn’t available 10 years ago.”
Leveraging material innovation to increase sustainability efforts is no longer viewed as a frivolous, nice-to-have effort, as major players in the fashion and apparel industry discover realistic ways to make impactful, eco-friendly changes to their products. Minimizing waste begins during the design phase of a product, and manufacturers now seek high-quality materials that reduce environmental impact without degrading product quality and brand reputation.
What’s more, consumers are increasingly prioritizing their own environmental footprint, causing them to re-examine their priorities when it comes to purchasing apparel. According to a recent study commissioned by CGS, 34 percent of survey respondents said they would pay 25 percent more for products considered sustainable.
“Manufacturers are moving away from use and dispose and moving toward use, reuse, reinvent, repurpose,” said Bacon. “A company’s inclusion of circularity is a great selling point for buyers in the market who attend the show. Taking last season’s trends and turning them into recycled and repurposed goods and commodities is becoming the new normal.”
“The fact we are now able to pull plastic out of the ocean and put it into sneakers—and add metals and minerals to control temperature in our athletic wear—is fascinating,” Bacon added. “The textile industry is just one of the many that is making huge strides towards material innovation, so we are adding to a large conversation.”
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