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Functional Fabric Fair—powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS® Ushers in the Future with Nod to the Past

The inaugural Portland, Ore., edition of the Functional Fabric Fair—powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS® will mark its introduction with a celebration of the past, present and future of performance apparel.

As the only sourcing event in the United States dedicated to functional textiles, the Functional Fabric Fair is a highly curated show with more than 140 suppliers, including Lenzing, 3M, Concept III, The Lycra Company, Polartec, YKK, X-Rite/Pantone (“We say ‘no’ more than ‘yes,’” Stephen McCullough, event manager at show producer Reed Exhibitions, proudly explained.) Taking place Oct. 22-23 at the Oregon Convention Center, attendees will have the opportunity to listen and learn from the Expert Talks education series, as well as network with one another.

The PERFORMANCE FORUM at the event will have the latest textile and accessory innovations and trends on display. Visitors can handle and learn about over 300 innovative, jury-selected textiles and accessories, with each fabric featuring performance codes intended to simplify the sourcing process by desired applications. PERFORMANCE FORUM fabric categories include: Next to Skin/Baselayer; Midlayer; Softshell; Waterproof/Breathable 2.5 & 3 Layer; Waterproof/Breathable 2 Layer; High Density/Lightweight; Active Style; Pants/Woven & Knit; Shirts/Woven & Knit; Accessories/Trims; and Insulation/Inlays.

Anchoring the show will be a collaborative Archive Exhibit that features iconic outdoor apparel spanning almost a century. Products on display include Patagonia’s 1993 Synchilla fleece jacket (the company was the first to adopt recycled fleece into its product line); CB Sports’ 1980s Extended Length ski jacket (credited with bringing color to the mountain); Eddie Bauer’s 1936 Skyliner jacket (the first down jacket to be patented in the U.S.); and Marmot’s 1978 men’s Golden Mantle jacket (the company’s first jacket featuring Gore-Tex).

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The Archive Exhibit was formed thanks to an idea from David Parkes, founder of textiles solutions provider Concept III, and conceptualized by McCullough.

Functional Fabric Fair

“We wanted to make a big statement with the launch of Functional Fabric Fair Portland— powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS® while celebrating the evolution of performance outerwear,” McCullough said. “We are thrilled with the interest and enthusiasm we’ve received from the 14 participating brands and hope that attendees feel a bit of nostalgia and pride in these iconic pieces that have shaped the outdoor performance industry.”

While the Archive Exhibit will serve as a respectful nod to the past, building a bridge to the future will come courtesy of the Functional Fabric Fair’s new University Partnership. Three schools are participating in the beta program—Utah State University, University of Oregon and Portland Fashion Institute—and there are plans to add an advisory board and get more schools from all over the US involved for the 2020 events.

In addition to being provided with kiosks in the exhibit hall, the three schools will have professors presenting in the Expert Talks education series, which will highlight topics such as technological and material innovations, winter 2021/22 color trends, and the future of sustainability. Makell Garrett Richins, a third-year student in the advanced sports design program at Utah State, will also showcase her portfolio dedicated to ski and sports apparel.

“Since our motto is ‘Defining the future of performance,’ I feel that it’s crucial for FFF to include all aspects of the textile industry,” said Chadaé Bowler, marketing director, Reed Exhibitions. “We’re giving due respect to the purveyors of outdoor and performance apparel via the Archive Exhibit, showcasing the latest technologies through the PERFORMANCE FORUM, and spotlighting the future of textile innovation through university programs that will continue to shape and fuel the evolution of fashion.”

“The Outdoor Product Design & Development (OPDD) program at Utah State University is excited to partner with Functional Fabric Fair—powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS® to provide opportunities for students and faculty to connect with sports and outdoor industry leaders,” said Chase Anderson, program coordinator at Utah State University. “The opportunity for students like Makell to attend the Functional Fabric Fair and interact with designers, materials suppliers, and innovators is an invaluable experience. The OPDD program is dedicated to finding unique opportunities to connect the future designers of the industry with innovative organizations and designers through incredible events like Functional Fabric Fair.”

For more information on the University Program, the Archive Exhibit or the PERFORMANCE FORUM at Functional Fabric Fair—powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS®, contact Chadaé Bowler at 

Functional Fabric Fair Portland—powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS® begins October 22 through October 23 and is open, free of charge, to industry professionals and students. Click to register for the Functional Fabric Fair— powered by PERFORMANCE DAYS®.