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Are Smart Textiles in Your Future?

October 20, 2015

Science is influencing the fashion industry from all angles, and with fabric being the starting point of garment construction, new fabric development is no exception. Forget cotton and polyester, the future of fabrics is taking a more unusual route. With a projected global population of 9 billion in 2050, demand for natural resources is rapidly increasing, specifically for coal, gas and oil—resources upon which the industrial textiles industry heavily depends for raw materials. According to IFAI’s market research manager Jeff Rasmussen, the worldwide smart fabrics market is growing at an annual rate of about 18 percent, to a projected $1.9 billion this year.

Companies and designers have already started working on smart textiles, and are doing some pretty amazing things. CuteCircuit, a London-based duo took their smart textiles and technology to the runway, showing a collection at New York Fashion Week where models were able to use their smartphones to make the their clothing change appearance.

Where do you see the largest demand for newer, smarter textiles? Transportation leads with 27 percent of the market, with military and government close behind with 21 percent. Sports and fitness have their own needs, representing about 17 percent of the market with wearable electronics for sports and fitness monitoring. In fact, it’s the fitness business that showed the highest growth rate worldwide last year. So called “super fabrics,” wearables, stretchable electronics, 3D printing, antibacterials, antivirals, and more.

While some of these innovations may not yet be ready for your closet, textiles have come a long way. Here’s a few fabric innovations that you can already look for in your uniforms and in your wardrobe.

Sweat-wicking fabrics

Probably the most mainstream of new, smart textiles, these fabrics were born from the fitness and military industries. By carrying moisture away from the skin, they help keep the wearer drier and more comfortable at a variety of physical activity levels. Brands like Under Armor, Running Bare and BLK Sport have helped make sweat-wicking clothes de rigueur in gyms and streetwear across Australia.

LED Clothes

Luminescent clothing isn’t confined to rave culture, but instead is one of the fastest growing factions of fashion. From changing your look with the press of a button, to helping innovate safety apparel for better visibility, LED garments are just getting started.

Stain-proof

Everyone knows the awful feeling of finding a coffee stain on your shirt, wondering if it’s forever ruined. However, Dropel Fabrics is determined to save your button down, developing stain-proof clothing that maintain their softness. Wine, beer, soda – not even soy sauce stands a chance.

What do you think is coming next? No matter where the future of fabrics takes us, you can know that Australian Uniform can launder, press, and deliver them back to you in pristine condition. Call us for a quote!