Industry News

Amazing Fabrics: New Fabric Technology Could Change the Future

We all know that fashion trends come every year. The latest designs are displayed down the catwalk at Fashion Weeks around the world. But did you know that new fabrics and their trends are also advancing?

There is so much more to fabric than you may think. Gone are the days of simply man-made and natural materials. Today, fabric technological advances are causing breakthroughs in trends and functionalities. With such exciting advances, fashion designers are taking the initiative to include these futuristic fabrics in their collections. Pushing the boundaries of fashion and making it so much more than simply looking good.

New fabrics leading the way in scientific advances

Fabrics are no longer just a key player in fashion. In 2016, The White House announced a new manufacturing innovation center, the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Institute for Manufacturing Innovation Hub. The aim is to secure US leadership in revolutionary fibers and textile manufacturing. Properties being researched vary from being lightweight and flame resistant, to extremely strong and containing electronic sensors.

These developments could lead to future textiles playing a pivotal role in protecting servicemen and women, firefighters, and so on. Imagine a wounded soldier wearing a fabric containing sensors, which detect if they need to be treated compression bandages. Or technology that can steer parachute fabric by changing the permeability.

Breakthrough smart fabrics

NASA’s new futuristic 4D printed “space fabric” – image courtesy of Digital Trends

In 2017, denim leaders Levi’s partnered up with Google to create Levi’s x Jacquard by Google jacket, an interactive denim jacket infused with revolutionary fabric technology. Once paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth, the jacket can perform many functions. The wearer only needs to tap and swipe accordingly.

Also, NASA has gotten in on the smart fabrics act. Their new space textile could be used for everything from insulation to cutting-edge astronaut suits. It also looks pretty amazing, like futuristic chainmail, and is created using 4D printed metals.

Systems engineer at NASA, Raul Polit-Casillas said, “We call it ‘4D printing’ because we can print both the geometry and the function of these materials.” One side of the smart space material reflects light, and the other absorbs it, which allows it to function as a thermal control for passive heat management.

Stanford University student Po-Shun Hsu developed a plastic material, NanoPE, that helps radiate body heat. Thus, lowering body temperature and cooling the wearer. The team is currently working on making this material into a woven textile, so it can be transformed into wearables.

What new fabrics are breaking through in the fashion world?

Earlier this year, denim leaders Levi’s partnered up with Google to create Smart fabrics currently dominating the fashion, athleisure, and interiors world. These futuristic fabrics are embedded or woven with technological elements, enhancing not only the use of the fabric but the wearer as well.

Also known as “wearable technology,” smart fabrics start their life as the fabrics we know and love. Woven, non-woven, and knitted textiles. The foundation of everything we wear in everyday life. Smart technology already lives in our homes and our phones. We can control our heating and electricity from a simple app, so why not use this technology in our clothing?

Smart textiles

So, what are these new fabrics and smart, wearable textiles? Simply put, they are developed with cutting-edge technologies, provided to add value to the wearer. They have the ability and capacity to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communication, transformation, energy conduction, and even growth.

These new fabrics can be broken into two categories.

  1. Performance Enhancing

These fabrics are making an impact on industries such as athletics and the military. Properties can include regulating body temperature (as seen above), controlling muscle vibration, and reducing wind resistance. These properties can all help enhance physical performance. Other new smart fabrics help guard the human body against extreme hazards, such as radiation, space travel, and heat. Even the medical world is getting in on the act. New fabrics which can release drugs into the skin, materials infused with moisturizers, perfumes, and serums. The possibilities are endless.

2. Aesthetics

Aesthetic examples of smart textiles include everything from fabrics that can change color to fabrics that light up. They gather power from the sun, batteries, or the environment, harnessing vibrations and heat to react accordingly. We have seen dresses made from a photoluminescent thread from designer Ying Gao, and designers using mobile phone LEDs to light up their garments on the runways. Using sensory technologies to make garments more interactive is just the start.

9 new fabric trends

Dresses by designer Ying Gao using photoluminescent thread

Fabric trends can be scientific, revolutionary, and breakthrough in terms of functionality. They can also be aesthetic based on texture, color, pattern, and fiber construction. These are the fabric trends that you will see everywhere from now on:

  1. Stylish and sophisticated stripes

We’re not talking about basic sailor stripes or the classic Breton. These stripes have a real life. They are bold and energetic and bring life and fun without being too overpowering or loud.

2. Get Cultured

This trend merges traditional patterns and elements with handcrafted aesthetics. The colors are rich earth tones with the occasional pop of bright color as a fun surprise.

3. Pretty in pink

Millennial pink is dominating both fashion and interiors at the moment. But it isn’t just this pretty blush pink that is ruling. Hot pink, a perhaps surprising choice for interiors, is making itself heard. When paired with different neutrals and textures, this trend is fun, stylish, and grown-up.

4. Textured silk

The classic Moire silk is brought back to life by using it in more obscure applications. Using it to upholster furniture, in a rippling skirt, or as a chic wall hanging will add interest and depth without going over the top.

5. Reflection

Reflective and transparent surfaces are a futuristic textile trend, which blurs the line between soft fabrics and hard surfaces. This creates a landscape of interest and intrigue.

6. Bauhaus prints

Those bold and blocky prints from the Bauhaus are just what is needed to create a fresh and funky living space.

7. Mellow Yellow

Perfect for summer and for warming your interiors in the winter. Fabrics featuring different shades of Yellow, in blocks or patterns, will bring joy and character wherever they are used.

8. Exploring space

Fascination with the stars, planets, and space sees this new trend growing in popularity. Jewel tones fused with muted greys are juxtaposed with futuristic structures and iridescent textures.

9. Back to nature

Reconnecting with our natural surroundings, this trend explores fabrics constructed with unusual and surprising natural materials. Fibrous textures combine with a neutral and mossy color palette.

What new fabrics have you been enjoying? Whether used for fashion, interiors, medicine, technology, or sportswear, futuristic fabrics show no sign of slowing down. Keep ahead of the trends and incorporate smart elements into your fabrics.

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