The Fibre Revolution - Four Material Trend Stories
Being a future-proof designer today requires a larger remit of knowledge than ever before spanning topics as wide as sociology, science, technology, manufacturing and raw materials.
I believe by addressing design at the raw materials stage you can challenge what is possible in a more sustainable way and influence the design process with less development and sampling.
Below I am highlighting four trend stories that are shaping what I see as the fibre revolution: BIO-BASED, RE-SPUN, PROTEIN FUTURE and DATA CREATOR.
Rapidly Renewable Raw Materials
Bio-based matter like wood pulp, algae and kelp can offer the textile industry rapidly renewable raw materials; resulting in textiles that naturally boast benefits like moisture management, easy care and zero toxic waste during processing. Designers and buyers should audit the materials used in their products and consider natural based alternatives to educate their customers on bio-based technology and a superior wearing experience.
Brand Examples: Naia by Eastman – Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven – Algae Knit
Versatility in Recycled Materials
The area of recycled fibres is becoming more competitive as consumer demand for plastic recycling initiatives grow. This demand has resulted in highly marketable filament products for 3D printing and versatile recycled yarns that can be used across apparel, footwear, accessories, home and automotive to name a few. These material engineering companies are becoming social brands in their own right encouraging design collaborations aswel as addressing performance and sustainability.
Brand Examples: Bionic Yarn – Econyl – Refil
Easy Care Silk
A number of research laboratories are sustainably engineering proteins to replicate spider silk for a cruelty free bio-compatible material.
Designers can utilise fibres like this for extremely strong, light and elastic materials that are easier to care for than silk.
Brand Examples: Biosteel – Bolt Threads
Conductive and connective fibres and layers are softly embedded into materials making them data collection points and bridges to hard devices.
These new technologies are empowering consumers with companies like Loomia leading the way; their TILE technology for example allows wearers to collect their own data, transfer and later sell to market researchers if they wish.
Brand Examples: Loomia – Litrax
The future of product development should comprise 100% rapidly renewable raw materials
Synthetic fabrics can be perceived as environmentally friendly and kind to the skin through protein engineering.
Consumers get the upper hand over market researchers through personal data collection and distribution.
Recycled fibres offer a platform for collaboration on the universal problem of ocean plastics
What do you think of the trends covered in this fibre revolution issue? Leave a comment below or over on social media where I will share prompts throughout the month.
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