Sustainability is trendy. At the same time, people want more glamour. New technologies combine both.
The textile industry is undergoing a fundamental change. Many organically grown structures and habits are being questioned and that’s a good thing. Production runs are getting shorter, producer countries are reconsidered. Many of the garments required in Europe are produced in Europe now and the conditions under which they are manufactured, are increasingly scrutinised. This is also reflected by the fabrics and findings used and, needless to say, by the decorative techniques applied – such as embroidery.
Sustainability is a global trend. Many companies are also striving to act more sustainably because this makes money. However, more conscious handling of resources, manufacturing technologies and the workforce are not only in evidence within the industry but also on the part of consumers. Natural materials and sustainable products are in demand and have long grown out of their niche. GOTS-certified cotton, nettle-based fabrics or hemp, recycled fibres based on PET bottles, natural materials such as cork or bark – all of these materials have found their way into a wide variety of sports, fashion and promotion collections. Genuine wool is heralding a comeback and wool fibres are often also embedded in functional fabrics as insulating layers to avoid genuine feather down or artificial fibres. Examples of this trend can also be found in the field of embroidery.
A striking phenomenon, however, is the counter trend that has developed in parallel with this mega trend: the more natural materials are on show and for sale, the more exposure they get at international trend shows and forums, the stronger the longing for glamour.
Designers present all types of shimmering fabrics, iridescent effects, transparent envelopes and coated materials. Glossy plastics make a statement, coatings, patent fabrics – anything garish goes. At the fabric trade fairs in Munich, Milan and Paris a huge plethora of textures, materials and special effects can be seen. Embroidery developers leverage them to also translate such trends into the embroidery pattern design, too.
Here, too, more and more fabric producers and buyers place increasing emphasis on manufacturing and purchasing more consciously and sustainably. There are many fabrics already available today produced without any use of PVC and PFC, and their number is rising. Also seeing constant growth is the market for fabrics and even functional membranes, made of recycled polyester. Just as important is to employ modern and highly advanced dyeing processes and machines that require substantially less water and chemicals.
All of these developments ensure that even sustainable apparel can be high-fashion, glossy and glamorous.
Copy and Photos: Reiner Knochel / Garne: Gunold