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Markets under pressure to recalibrate

Billy Hunter

The technical textiles industry is under pressure to adjust to the changing market circumstances.

10th February 2017

Billy Hunter
 |  Manchester

Sports/​Outdoor, Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

NCTO congratulated President Donald Trump on his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America. The technical textiles industry is under pressure to adjust to the changing market circumstances in accordance to the complicated geo-political environment, changing consumer demand, increasing environmental standards and growing trend towards digitalisation.

Whilst the uncertainty surrounding the future of the global trade has intensified after US President, Donald Trump, has signed an executive order withdrawing the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, the leading textiles industry representative in the US has reached out to the new administration, expressing readiness to cooperate.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) congratulated President Donald Trump on his inauguration and said it was eager to partner with the new administration to stimulate US textile manufacturing. Read more here – NCTO eager to work with Trump administration.

Industry recalibrates

Meanwhile, the outdoor industry has faced headwinds this year, including unpredictable weather, changing consumer habits, and retail consolidation. Outdoor industry sales in the US fell by 1.5% to US$ 18.8 billion for the twelve months through October 2016, according to NPD Group. As a result, retail and brand executives are looking for ways to reconnect with the outdoor consumer.

Outdoor Retailer, the premier US show for the outdoor industry, is evolving its priorities to better align with a changing outdoor industry. The show, which held its 2017 Winter Market last month, attracted around 20,000 visitors and 1,075 exhibitors. Talk in the aisles this season focused on policies, politics, and the show’s new schedule, Debra Cobb reports – Outdoor Retailer evolving as industry recalibrates.

The Polartec MtnLogic collection containing 19 styles developed by over 60 RMI guides during a 12-month development timeline. © Polartec

Among companies exhibiting at this year’s show winter edition were Teijin Frontier, which promoted its latest products, as well as the company’s environmental initiative, THINK ECO, and Polartec, which launched its  MtnLogic alpine workwear brand at the show.

Positive prospects

This week, another outdoor and sportswear exhibition closed its doors, after more than 85,000 visitors and 2,732 exhibitors from around the world turned Munich into a gathering for the international sports industry. ISPO Munich celebrated the industry’s latest innovations, whilst focusing on digitalisation. ISPO and adidas hosted the symposium titled Digitalisation as a growth impulse for industry and trade.

More than 85,000 trade visitors from 120 countries attended the fair in Munich. See more here – Sports industry positive about future prospects. Exhibiting at the show was Shima Seiki, which showed the latest sportswear samples produced on its latest line of computerised knitting machines. Italy’s Eurojersey and Cifra jointly presented a new generation of Hybrid Warp Knit Garments for activewear. Teijin Frontier promoted its ongoing sports market expansion. Invista's Cordura brand and Blackyak expanded their collaborative offering with the latest 2017 Fall/Winter apparel collection. The Woolmark Company has unveiled its latest edition of The Wool Lab Sport, in response to the growing demand in wool as a technical fibre for activewear.

Electronics are a big trend in sporting goods. © ISPO Munich

PrimaLoft debuted the new Gold Insulation Active with 45% recycled content, and W. L. Gore & Associates unveiled a new GORE-TEX brand campaign.

Turning supply chain on its head

The game-changing trend towards digitalisation was also evident at recently concluded Heimtextil in Frankfurt. It does appear that a significant shift in the established textile manufacturing and supply chains is now underway, and advances in digital printing are certainly a driving factor, Adrian Wilson reports – Turning the supply chain on its head.

Kornit Allegro. © Adrian Wilson

During the show, Amazon announced that it would invest significantly in the Israel-headquartered digital printing equipment manufacturer Kornit. The company’s booth featured a live demonstration of the Allegro roll-to-roll system. With the new additions to the global install base of Allegro systems, following the new system orders at Heimtextil, the company says will now serve more than 20 customer sites. Find out more here - Kornit Digital receives new system orders at Heimtextil.

New regulations

In line with the growing trend towards verifying the sustainable production processes by textiles and apparel manufacturers, Oeko-Tex has reviewed the requirements of its products and has published a large number of new changes to Made In Green, MySTeP, STeP and Standard 100 regulations last month.

According to the Association, these new requirements allow Oeko-Tex to provide significant support for both the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative and the Detox campaign. See more here – Oeko-Tex releases new regulations for 2017.

Green solutions

As sustainable textile products are becoming more relevant due to the modern industry and consumer demands, several companies this year have announced their contributions to reducing ecological footprint. Toabo Corporation, Sotoh and Moriyasu Dye Works have worked together to establish a pilot plant for a new chlorine free treatment called Life Fibre Eco-Friendly Treatment (Life Fibre EFT) in the heart of Japan’s wool industry, Ichinomiya. A new shrink resist treatment developed helps retain wool’s hydrophobicity without removing scales.

Downlite, a leading down and feather processor, has unveiled its new wastewater recovery system that allows Downlite to recycle and reuse up to 99% of the water used to clean and sanitise its down and feather fills – saving up to 40 million gallons of water annually. Gneuss, has developed a new JUMP system installed directly downstream of the Gneuss Processing Unit (GPU). With the complete system, industrial waste can be quickly and efficiently reprocessed in one processing step to a high quality polymer melt, the company reports.

For decades, Patagonia has been leading the industry towards building high-performance products with the vision to a greener and more sustainable future. ©

The Swiss textile technology innovator HeiQ and Patagonia have teamed up for an exclusive strategic research partnership to explore novel ways for a sustainable textile finishing technology to achieve breathable and durable water repellence (DWR) with best-in-class performances.

Also, Lenzing has developed a new fibre based on cotton scraps and wood. According to the company, Refibra is the first cellulose fibre featuring recycled material on a commercial scale.

Celebrating anniversary

This year marks an important milestone for Invista’s Cordura brand, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a global roadshow. The company kicked off the celebrations with a number of new fibre and fabric technologies, new collaborations with companies like Cone Denim and Blackyak,  and capsule collections. Find out more here – Cordura kicks off 50th anniversary with global roadshow.

Cordura 4ever knit. © Cordura brand

This week the company announced its symbolical recognition with more than 50 awards in its 50th anniversary year at ISPO Textrends, securing its first best in category product win with Cordura 4ever knit by Yoonia (Korea).

Thank you for reading Innovation in Textiles!

Jana Bukolovska

Staff Correspondent

Billy Hunter is away

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