INNOVATIONS IN THE FABRIC WORLD
It is only when one innovates that one progresses. Adhering to this statement, the world of fabrics and textiles, too, has seen many an innovation. Heer P Kothari explores the new fabrics and techniques that are making waves in the apparel industry. The vices of global warming, including the increase in the number of people suffering from skin cancer and other skin diseases, propelled scientists in the 60s and 70s to create textiles that would help combat such skin afflictions. While doing so, they also had to bear in mind the tastes of the ever-changing, fashionable consumer. The fabrics would thus, not only need to be attractive in terms of features, but in their pricing aspect as well. With environmental changes now having far damaging consequences, it is time, once again, to innovate and experiment with fabrics that are sustainable and environment-friendly. Keeping this thought in mind, let’s walk through some of the more interesting innovations seen in fabrics and textiles.
EMANA This is Rhodia’s (a group specialised in fine chemistry, synthetic fibres and polymers) new polyamide—a 6.6 based intelligent yarn that incorporates biometric minerals in its polymeric matrix. The fabric promotes a new level of interaction with the human skin. The Biometric elements present in the Emana absorb the infrared radiation that is emitted by the human
body and re-emits the absorbed radiation as far as infrared waves. Emana is popularly used for lingerie or second skin clothing. The fibre incorporates Bioactive in its very DNA and this property remains unchanged even after several washes. The fabric also takes up numerous colours and designs, is easy to maintain, easy to wash, does not drain colour and leaves no residue post washing. The interaction between the fabric and skin is entirely physical, and does not permit harm of any kind over the human body. Even during the production process, the fibre does minimal harm to the environment.
The fibre also helps in the enhancement of metabolism. It heightens collagen synthesis that promotes younger and healthier looking skin. It also increases skin elasticity, and reduces cellulite, further promoting comfort and overall well-being. The fabric has been awarded the OEAO-TEX baby certificate.
IONCELL F The use of alternative textiles is rapidly emerging on the trend charts. Ioncell F is a cellulose-based fibre that is better than its counterpart, rayon, and is much stronger compared to viscose. The fabric hopes to hit the top of the popularity charts with its high quality, beauty and sustainability. Scandinavian Science and Design students developed this fabric that surely stands as the best among all its counterparts in the cellulose family.
The material is created using plant fibres and ionic liquid. The fibre used is a wood based fibre and the fabric is formulated by dissolving wood chips into pulp using the ionic liquid. The pulp is processed to then create a finished fibre that is spun into yarn. The process of production involves several complexities, but there are no toxic chemicals let out during the production process. It can thus be termed as a natural product. The textile is better than rayon and cotton as it uses little water during the production process. The Ioncell F has not yet hit the commercial market owing to the numerous tests it has to yet undergo and it will take a minimum of five years for it to be released commercially.
CORKSHELL Corkshell is a fabric crafted out of the by-product of the wine bottle’s cork. The fabric comprises an inimitable rendezvous of the natural features of the cork, and the functional features of high-end fabric, with unique features. The natural granulate is pulverized and is firmly fixed as a coating in a one-of-its-kind process devised and patented by Schoeller. There are two variations available in this. The first is the two-layer fabric construction, where the cork is coated on the inside of the fabric. The other is the three-layer fabric construction, where the cork is strategically placed between the fabric constructions. This fabric is more breathable as compared to the other cork-based fabric counterparts. It can resist wind as well as water. They also come with a tw- way and four-way stretch. Corkshell provides for higher insulation, depending upon the fabric structure. The fabric is Bluesign approved, and is largely used in the manufacture of hats and caps. It is also widely used in wintry destinations.
AURA TEXTILE, FOR INSTANCE, MANUFACTURES HERBAL AND ORGANIC TEXTILE, THAT IS CERTIFIED BY THE GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARDS.
GOING ECO The diminishing ecosystem has become a cause of concern for not only the manufacturer but also the consumer. With mounting awareness of the same, manufacturers are encouraged to go back to the roots; to go back to the times of the Vedic era and fashion textiles that are organic in nature. The question is, how is the textile termed as organic, if there is a liberal dash of chemicals infused in every stage of production? Well, the answer is that manufacturers ensure that the cotton is organically raised, and that there is minimal intake of chemicals during the process of warp and weft. Even the dyes involved in the process are organic in nature.
Aura Textile for instance, manufactures herbal and organic textile, that is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards. The company has achieved dyeing up to the width of 120. They also produce a variety of fabrics that include poplin, twills, flannels, corduroys, denims, knits, silks, and a lot more. The inculcation of natural dyes ensures the shades and colours produced on the fabric are earthy, adding to the rich organic feel of the fabric. The solid and liquid wastes that are produced during the manufacturing process are used back in the form of manure; the fibre having the ability to disintegrate into the environment with ease, without releasing any harmful toxins. This throws light on how the product helps the ecosystem, even after it has been worn out.
THE DESIGN TABLE
Design is a key element of well-crafted apparel. While print and embroidery are just one aspect of the design segment, some newer segments involve the use of intricately designed cuts. The use of laser is a hot emerging trend both for printing on fabric, and for etching breath-taking designs on to fabrics as well.
Fabric often frays if a blade or scissor is used to create designs. The introduction of the laser, however, has changed this completely! Laser cutting on fabric is a trend with the help of which one can craft innovative and even complex designs using the laser cutter. One can also rest assured of repeating the designed etched using the same dimensions as customised by the designer with ease. The ability of laser to seal the edges of most textiles, virtually eliminates the problem of fraying. A laser cutting machine offers precise cuts for as many as 10,000 shapes, in varying or uniform sizes as desired by the designer. Science plays a pivotal role in the unending developments that take place in the world of textiles. As we pan across at the countless innovations in this field, there is a lot more happening in terms of development, apart from advancements in fabric and yarn. These innovations include those that concern the technology involved in the production of fabrics, the dyes and inks used to print the same, cutting machines, and even innovative organisational methods that can boost production, and yet meet with the ever changing demands of the consumer. While the abovementioned fabrics predominantly comprise woven knits, there is an ascending market for the non-woven fabrics as well.
Perhaps these fabrics don’t seek much recognition, but the market trends seem to tell just another story.