No items found.

Functional Fabric Fair Fosters a Green Future

Panel discussion on PFAS, from left, Will Troutman, Norton Rose Fulbright, Jan Beringer, Hohenstein, Caitlyn Lacorata-Smith, PVH, Jaime Griggs, Hohenstein.

Typically the first question asked at a trade show is, “What’s new?” So, it was surprising that at the recent Functional Fabric Fair NY, where plenty of new and exciting textiles were on display, curiosity around PFAS, and impending government legislation was top of mind.

What’s not surprising is that sustainability is at the core of these (and most other) material matters. A key focus of the Functional Fabric Fair (FFF), powered by Performance Days, is carbon neutrality and over the course of the past three exhibitions the textile community has achieved a higher level of understanding about what it takes to reduce its collective carbon footprint with the narrative around sustainability continuing to evolve.

The first question we’re getting is, ‘Is this finish PFC-free?’” stated Peter Lucier of WidePlus International. He added that with the government making changes and regulations coming down the pike, sustainability is no longer about “I have to” but rather “I need to” in order to survive.

An Expert Talk on PFAS regulation drew a large crowd to the main stage of the show, held July 18-19. Will Troutman, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, U.S. LLP., outlined types of restrictions, fines and civil penalties, and highlighted specific enacted legislation for both apparel and textiles. California leads the charge with regulation in both categories effective January 1, 2025. Other states, including Colorado, Washington and Minnesota, also have enacted PFAS legislation as of 1/1/25.

The NY show drew a record-breaking number of attendees on the hunt for the latest textile innovations.

What’s Trending and Directional

The 140+ vendors that filled the River Pavilion in the Javits Center previewed a range of  responsible textile collections for Summer ‘25. Broader application of plant-based materials, advances in recycling and interest in ingredient brand collaboration stood out as areas to watch.

WasaSweden, technicians in developing customized accessories, and newcomer to FFF, debuted Apple Leather, a hybrid material integrating organic apple and other food scraps from fruit juice that creates a product label with a soft touch.

Thermore launched EcoDown Fibers Ocean, adding to its product line made from 100 percent ocean bound raw materials (PET bottles). Joe DiGirolamo, Thermore’s director of sales, explained, “We want to retrieve the bottles in the best shape, so we collect them within a 30 mile stretch of the coastline but not exposed to salt water.” Hence, the description, “ocean bound,” not to be confused with ocean found.

Hyosung introduced FishTale, a high-performance swimwear fabric made from 100 percent recycled materials, a company first. The product features Mipan regen ocean, made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled nylon from ghost fishing nets and creora regen, a 100 percent recycled spandex.

Schoeller showcased its Re-Source collection featuring a fabric with Schoeller naturetec eco-repel made from recycled Q-cycle polyamide (derived from old car tires) with an elastane coating on the exterior and washable Nativa merino wool on the inside, providing pinnacle functionality, comfort and durability.

CiCLO is garnering more attention as the topic of microplastic fragmentation increasingly resonates with consumers. CiCLO fibers biodegrade at rates similar to natural fibers, and is an eco-based solution to mitigate synthetic microfiber pollution.

CoolCore sees potential in ingredient brand partnerships and is currently working with Acteev, from Ascend Performance Materials, a top producer of nylon 6,6. Product development that couples CoolCore’s polyester wicking functionality and Acteev’s zinc-based odor-free properties is described as a “win win” by execs from both brands.  

The Performance Forum category selections are a must-see at the show.

The Show Itself

The July FFF had the hustle and bustle of a true trade show. From the get-go booths were busy with attendees on the hunt for high-quality goods. The atmosphere was upbeat and energetic with lots of networking in the aisles, yet the show itself is transactional in nature. “In terms of supply chain and brand perspective, the New York show is best for us,” commented Matthew Cole, CovationBio’s business manager – The Americas, Sorona. “Many of our mills are here and we’re seeing brands like Tommy Bahama, Carhartt, J. Crew and Bombas.” According to Functional Fabric Fair event director, Steve McCullough, Day 1 set a FFF record for highest attendance with 1100 individuals. He also noted a 72 percent verification rate, almost double the rate of previous shows.  Up Next: Functional Fabric Fair Portland, OR, November 2-3, 2023.

Thermore debuts EcoDown Fibers Ocean.