New Technologies In Fabric Innovation
Today technology has touched every sector, providing better and more innovative products, enhancing the simplicity and comfort of consumers’ lives and increasing the production efficiency of manufacturing. Advancements in technology have never been confined by boundaries and their impact resonates across industries. The textile industry too is seeing significant technical innovation today, driven by the increasing tech-savvy demographic that makes up a majority of their consumer base.
According to “Transparency Market International” the world demand for technical textiles is expected to grow by US$ 160.38 billion by the end of 2018.
Much of the technical inspiration behind fabric development comes from the features that modern gadgets possess, some of which include water and stain repellent features, anti-crease features, wind resistant features and anti-dust features. The most recent innovations in textiles have been about meeting demands of multiple technical features in one fabric. The brand Cityzen Sciences created a shirt that serves multiple functions including a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, accelerometer and altimeter. Technosmart by Raymond developed a suiting fabric with UV protection, moisture management, easy care and soft touch features while the brand Outlier have created OG pants that boast of durability, water resistance, and breathability. These developments are raising the bar higher and higher for textile innovation and setting the industry up for a very exciting future.
Apparel today is growing past being merely articles of clothing but are now serving a range of purposes from checking your pulse and blood pressure to measuring sugar levels and tracking calories. Broadcast Wearables from Hyderabad are one player in the industry leading the charge in smart clothing. One of their clothing lines, Jaltee, glows in the dark with the press of a button thanks to LED wires embedded in the fabric, while also being comfortable and waterproof.
Another of their innovations is the ‘Broadcast T-shirt’ which has got water-proof sensors, LED lights and an accompanying app which controls and changes the slogans that appear on your t-shirt. You can now download a design of your choice that you could broadcast on your t-shirt. The incorporation of technologies such as these are the beginning of more emotional an interactive fabrics.
The introduction of nanotechnology has significantly widened the scope of innovation by altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of materials to develop desired characteristics in fabrics. The implantation of nano-particles delivers more durable and technically advanced features such as unique surface structures, water repellency, stain repellency, anti-microbial properties, wrinkle-free, thermo-regulation, anti-static, UV protection, flame retardant and so on. New innovations in nano-technology are also equipped with personalized skin care benefits including a vitamin E finish in fabrics, a moisturizing oil finish, aroma finish etc giving customers an array of potential options and properties to chose from.
Fabrics have also become more responsive with the introduction of technologies such as the self-cleaning feature that can self-clean fabric without the use of any water or detergent. This is enabled by the use of nanoparticles of titanium oxide on the fabric that becomes active in the presence of light and destroys all organic dirt.
Another simial advancement in fabric tech is the self-healing fabric. The fabric is coated with a layer of poly-electrolyte which is composed of positively and negatively charged polymers and can repair tears in the fabric when exposed to water.
The thermochromic fabric is also an innovative technology of responsive clothing which changes color with the application of heat. Brands like Stone Island and Shadow Shifters are using this technology to create fabrics that react to changes in temperature and fade away and alter appearance when heat is transmitted through the fabric.
Digital Printing saw immense success in the textile industry, providing customized options and a shorter turnaround time, while simultaneously reducing the wastage of water and resources. 3D Printing is the next upcoming technology in printing with the ability to create a garment in 3-dimensions without the use of a needle and thread. Though this technology currently works only on synthetics and thermoplastics, the future does look exciting and promising.