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Better Fabrics Better for the Planet Define Season Ahead


To get a quick grasp of the important fabric trends for the winter season 2024/25 attendees at the Portland Functional Fabric Fair needed only to take a look at the winners for the Performance and Eco Performance awards highlighted in the Performance Forum. Long Advance International took the Performance Award for its monocomponent 2-layer fabric that is a mixture of 45 percent polyester and 55 percent recycled poly from recycled textiles, laminated with a PET membrane. This innovation is a clear indicator that new fabrications going forward will be promoting recyclable fabric based on circular design and construction. Pontetorto was given the Eco Performance Award for fabric that combined high performance and maximum sustainability in a blend of 23 percent hemp/69 percent recycled poly/9 percent recycled elastane product. Notable is the material’s low CO2 footprint during production and low release levels of microplastics into the environment, while at the same time providing 4-way stretch, fast drying and optimal breathability. 

Based on these developments it’s not surprising that there is excitement within the textile community about cool ideas – like materials made with sequestered carbon – starting to take shape as realities in the functional fabric category. 

A snapshot of this next wave of eco-performance offerings is best summed up in these keywords: 

Better Synthetics, Better Naturals, Better Processing and Ones that Do it All! 

Better Synthetics highlights include: recycled poly with great performance; monocomponent recycled poly made from cutting scrap and overstock fabric; and 100 percent polypropylene jersey – solution dyed with PFC-free coating.

Better Naturals that are especially innovative include: woven fabric with biobased PU membrane which can reach high performance standards in water-repel and wind resistant ratings and Hemp Agraloop Biofibre, which is made with hemp crop leftovers that are used in a new spinning technology. 

Better Processing features dope-dyed nylon knitted with three blended colors and waterless technology as well as extremely soft by master-peached process for high performance abrasion resistance.

Fabrics that do it all stand out with recycled polyester made with waterless dope dye or solution dyeing and waterless printing using local or regional production. 

Whether fabric for apparel, footwear, bags or accessories, a handful of need-to-know textile buzzwords for the upcoming ‘24/25 season are: plant-based, carbon-capture, compostable, regenerative and made-from-textile waste.  Interesting isn’t it that “sustainability” is not on the list… 

The upcoming November/December issue of Textile Insight magazine will have a full report on the Functional Fabric Fair Portland 2022 show.