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Fall/Winter ‘24 Hits the Mark at Functional Fabric Fair

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With high levels of innovation, quality and sustainability, material offerings for the upcoming winter season garnered positive reviews at last week’s Functional Fabric Fair in Portland, OR. The two-day event, powered by Performance Days, provided the industry crowd with plenty of new and different product to look at, and learn about, in the ever-evolving world of eco-performance textiles. 

A continued focus on achieving carbon neutrality and heightened emphasis on recycling textile waste provides direction forward in product development, manufacturing processes and circular design. These days it’s all about net zero, with companies understanding that the carbon you create must be managed and stored away.

To underscore the importance of reducing industry’s collective eco-impact, Functional Fabric Fair established criteria in order to be featured in the Performance Forum; Fabric has to have 51 percent sustainable content. Further, to be included in the specific Focus Topic category, fabric has to feature a low carbon emissions and a HIGG measurement. Out of the 1,000 swatches submitted to the Functional Fabric Fair jury from 185 exhibitors, 314 selected fabrics and 56 selected accessories made the final cut. 

A Footwear area debuted at the October Fair, recognizing the expanding role eco-functional fabrics play in this market. Plant-based innovations were the highlight. “Our aim is to end non-sustainable goods for good,” said Gerard Alvoet, VP sales/marketing for evoco, a Toronto-based firm that showcased its eco-foam product made from plant-based chemistry. The company’s eco-foam will feature in VANS footwear in 2023.  “Biomaterials are here, and people need to understand this,” Alvoet added. 

In her overview of material innovation for Autumn/Winter ‘24, textile specialist Alexa Dehmel summed up the current marketplace with emphasis on three major developments to watch: 1) Advancement in recycled nylon made from old car tires. “This has an amazing future, and is no longer reliant on just one supplier,” Dehmel explained. 2) Carbon capture technology, still in pilot stage, is making strides not only in functionality terms but also starting to produce fabrics that have aesthetic value. 3) Recycling from other feedstock than bottles. 

Brian La Plante, senior manager of sustainability at YKK reinforced what many in the hall were thinking at the Functional Fabric Fair fall edition regarding what’s new and what’s in the textile pipeline. He noted during his talk in Designing for Circularity, “this is the most exciting era of material development in the last 30 years.” 

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Oct 31, 2022

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