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The Buzz: Market Drivers, Product Highlights, Trade Shows


Hands down, sustainability was the central issue of last week’s Functional Fabric Fair in Portland, OR. From the Focus Topic: The Sustainable Future of Nylon, to the buzz about bio-based and plant-based performance, to circular design, to the impact of climate change on future textile developments, eco innovation was in overdrive.

Expert talks and keynotes drew an interested crowd.

Compelling product dotted the FFF landscape. For example, HeiQ  launched AeoniQ, a high-performance cellulosic yarn based on a new fiber derived from carbon negative material. Pilot production in the works with product availability slated for Q2 of 2022; mass commercialization is projected for 2025. The Lycra Company is an early adopter of the AeoniQ innovation. BASF Corporation’s  latest advances in creating new sustainable synthetics from used car tire waste also captured significant attention at the Fair.

New sustainable approaches to nylon was a theme of the 2021 Fair.

Rene Bethmann’s thoughtful, comprehensive keynote on a Sustainable Approach to the Future of Nylon laid the groundwork for the Show’s high-level sustainability conversation. His updates on pre-and post-consumer recycling options along with other eco alternatives, and his work with Vaude Academy illuminated contemporary efforts around a modern makeover of an 80 year-old synthetic fiber. While there is general excitement surrounding renewable source materials for greener polyamide, not everyone in the FFF crowd is 100 percent onboard. There was rumbling about these new methods being a patch rather than a solution. As the textile community continues to lean into circularity, trying to close the loop in a global supply chain based on an ancient model of sourcing and production, it becomes clear that this is a complex, costly and controversial endeavor.

Waste is becoming a valuable resource for new materials.

One of the buzziest topics at FFF was the postponement of ISPO from this upcoming January to November 2022. The news broke a day prior to FFF opening its doors and textile execs immediately started to re-think travel plans. Most had already decided to attend ISPO in Munich and forgo the January Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver. Now what?  Decisions, decisions for textile execs this holiday season on planning for next year’s trade show circuit.

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Nov 22, 2021


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