Apparel - - New Avenues -

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.


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.


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.

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