Fabric? Sustainability comes first. Environmental textile trends at the 2022 Premiere Vision Paris.
The worlds of fashion and global textile production have always been strongly related in terms of fabric trends. Yet, never before have they been so close to each other as to speak in one voice. Regardless of the fabrics' field of application, everyone unanimously agrees that sustainability should come first – both as regards the production processes and the final products themselves.
The statistics are clear. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the total carbon dioxide emissions, which is several times more than the entire aviation industry. The production of clothes is also responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution. Furthermore, nearly 20% of waste around the world originates from the fashion and textile industries and it is estimated that these sectors will grow by about 50% before the end of the decade.
While the engagement of fashion brands in preventing the negative impact of the industry on the environment is important, it seems that a lot depends on the suppliers and raw material manufacturers as well. All stakeholders are now focused on searching for material solutions and smart circular manufacturing processes.
Thus it is worth taking a look at events such as the 23rd Premiere Vision / Paris Norde Villepinte and the message they herald to the world facing energy and climate crisis.
The number of exhibitors and materials presented during the Paris fair was truly astonishing. Ultimately, one of the critical issues that transpired was becoming aware of the importance of moderation. The much needed reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will not be possible unless we manufacture and buy fewer products, recycle clothes near the end of their life cycle, close the loop and stop thinking about garments as something we use only once.
In this spirit, about 1100 companies producing raw materials and providing services related to the production of clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery presented their concepts of future textiles. Once again, Paris has become the hub of inspiration for the entire industry.
In search of alternative fibres and solutions
Visitors displayed great interest in the innovators' area, which included the stand of Bananatex. After three years of research and development this company presented a brand new material. It is the first fabric in the world made from the abacá fibre (a species of banana) and it appears to be the first truly circular alternative to synthetic fibres that currently dominate the market.
Spiber, on the other hand, demonstrated another approach to achieving circularity. The company based their production on alternative carbohydrates and proteins. It is currently believed that alternative protein materials have an unparalleled potential.
A surprisingly large number of exhibitors presented leather goods and technologies allowing for the recycling of this material as well as alternatives to natural leather. For example, innovators from ICTYOS presented their colourful leathers produced from recycled raw materials. In order to control their supply chain, the company works with a network of local suppliers, thus reducing its carbon footprint. ICTYOS creates its products from recycled leather that would otherwise be discarded.
The revolution in the fashion industry is to a large degree based on introducing new production technologies. Alternative materials made from leftover fruit, mycelia and other types of biodegradable matter appear increasingly often in collections presented by major fashion brands. For several years, we have witnessed a dynamic growth of start-ups, whose business model is based on developing this kind of production.
Imbotex Lab is an initiative from the Italian company Imbotex, which endows production textile scraps with second life as an insulating material for clothes. The technological process involves three steps: collecting textile scraps, sorting them by colour and transforming the fibres into an insulating material. Imbotex products include: Recashmere (scraps from cashmere clothes production), Wool up (wool rejected during the production process) and Organic Cotton and Linen (a blend of cotton and linen retaining their full properties). Upcycled fabric scraps are used as insulation layers for jackets and coats. Camelux, on the other hand, is a company behind the limited-edition Sashiko jacket, promoting traditional Japanese embroidery used to reinforce or repair textiles. Interestingly, this project was implemented in cooperation with the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Bolt Threads is a biotech company which develops environmentally friendly materials. One of their products is Mylo, a mycelium material that imitates natural leather. It is vegan and comes in many colours and textures. The material can be used to produce almost anything: from shoes to bags and jackets. Products created by Bolt Threads are already being used by many designers working for well‑known fashion brands.
Another promising material is Mirum manufactured by Natural Fibre Welding. It is a biodegradable product made from cork and waste material. It imitates natural leather and is suitable for the production of footwear, clothes and accessories. It has already been extensively used by e.g. Ralph Lauren and the Richemont holding.
Fabrics reflecting our care about the environment and people
Honeycomb materials are among fabrics that are bound to triumph in the upcoming year. With their characteristic waffle-like textures, such materials are known for their insulating properties and are associated with warmth.
A number of exhibited fabrics, especially suedes, velvets as well as boucle weaves and fur texture imitations were particularly soft to the touch. This trend is justified by the prevailing crisis-related moods and our search for comfort and security in the materials and objects that surround us.
Another product category that stood out at the Paris fair was thick weave fabrics. This was explained by the fact that durable fabrics, such as wool and silk hybrids or viscose blends are durable and thus foster environmental responsibility. A similar justification explains the growing grunge trend. It is a new interpretation of imperfections that add a rustic and rebellious feel to fabrics. Examples of such materials include frayed wool or faux fur.
It seems that global trade returned to normal in 2022. However, it is already very clear that the fashion industry cannot go back to its pre-pandemic practices: processes detrimental to the environment and unsustainable levels of mass production. Only companies that work towards sustainability will continue to develop in the upcoming years. Investments in new materials alternative to cotton and traditional fabrics will become increasingly important. Education regarding the impact of production on the environment and the transparency regarding operations of companies will also be essential.
Recycled fabrics offered by Dekoma:
A noble, thick woollen fabric recommended for upholstery, but also suitable for decoration. It has good technical parameters and is naturally flame-retardant, as proven in the cigarette and match tests in accordance with British flame retardancy standards. Available in a range of 40 beautiful colours, including both natural colours (earth, grass, stone), classic neutral shades (beige, brown, cream and grey), and vibrant, deep colours not commonly found in wool fabrics: fuchsia, plum, aubergine, and emerald green.
Following the Wool collection, Arno is yet another upholstery and decorative fabric made from recycled wool offered by Dekoma. It is manufactured in Italy using waste material from the clothing industry. Because of its similar composition, the Wool fabric can be used as a coordinate for Arno. Arno is available in 38 colour variants. The colour palette is inspired by soil and nature. It mainly includes shades of beige, brown, red, ochre, grey as well as subdued, muted green. With the warp being of a different colour than the weft, the fabric produces a pixelated effect that makes its surface more lively. Wool is naturally flame-retardant, therefore it meets the requirements of a number of flame retardancy standards.
Como is a fabric made of 100% cotton fibers from recycled t-shirts, which makes it less harmful to the environment in its life cycle. This fabric with its smooth semi-shaded fleece and high gram, is best suited for upholstery. It is recommended for furniture with simple shapes and geometric cushions. Itroduces natural simplicity and unpretentiousness to the interior. It epitomises contemporary luxury expressed in the possibility of contact with nature, caring for one's own health and wellbeing.
A multi-coloured, mélange upholstery fabric inspired by Ireland's signature Donegal tweed style. Colourful accents on a uniform background are very fine – from a distance the fabric gives the impression of uniform, from close up you can see small weaves of silk. Granola visually resembles the Prato collection, but is more subtle and has a greater variety of colour. Its mélange weave makes it a perfect match for interiors inspired by the 1960s style. It can be used to renovate vintage furniture and produce contemporary models of chairs, armchairs and sofas. It comes in 16 colour variants: from more subdued earth colours to pastels.