Premiere vision AW22/23
This season we see a wide range of natural materials and fabrics, cellulose-based artificial materials, synthetic materials, and blends of fibers. Natural plant fibers are often combined with organic cotton. For example, Himalayan nettle is a blend of organic cotton and nettle which is produced as a knitted fabric but gives a natural, plant-based handle. Banana leaves and pineapple leaves fibers are now combined with organic cotton, both made like a jersey but feel like cotton. There are several fabric blends with pineapple leaves that feel more like linen, or multiple blends like viscose-banana-pineapple.
On the industrial scale, eco-responsible fibers such as organic cotton and recycled polyester are still most widely used. Recycled polyamide joined them recently. Demand for those is still larger than supply, as it takes about 3 years to produce some of those fabrics and transition takes time.
Development of organic cotton improved from rustic plant-based appearance and with continuously improving spinning technique, it became an attractive clean product and a sophisticated material. We also see a wider range of eco-responsible silk products, with more and more producers using GOTS fabric (Global Organic Textile Standard). Silk cotton or silk acetate blends also increased their quality. 100% recycled cashmere handle improved and is really tender consistent but light.
There is diversity in recycled textiles, especially in the heritage city of recycled wool Prato in Italy. In Prato, the wool was recycled since mid 19th century, long before it was widely popular and known. Recycled wool is sorted by colour in order to re-spin coloured yarn, there is no need to re-dye yarn and you can then combine marl and twist, which will create unique colours. To find 100% recycled cotton woven in warp and weft is a real technical process because normally you can only see 60% recycled cotton blends. The reason being cotton has very short yarn which makes fabric pilling and not very durable, that is why the blends are important. Eco responsible fabric developed in a short time and they can deliver embroidery, jacquard, or even metallic finish.
Another important category are cellulose-based fabrics. They are crucial in terms of volume especially for printing, as they enhance colors and prints. Cellulose is made mostly from wood or bamboo viscose, fabrics like cupro, viscose, tencel.
The major problem with synthetic materials is microparticles that pollute water and shed during production. Biodegradable synthetics have to meet the standard to be approved, because for material to be biodegradable it needs to be tested under a certain temperature or pH, in the presents of microorganisms to catalyze the process. The biodegradability of fabrics is very difficult to assess because of their finishes, dyeing and treatments. Some dying processes can meet eco-responsible criteria but there are many alternatives too, like dying with coffee.
The main questions in the textile industry remain, how gas emissions are processed, what chemicals are used, how water waste is treated, and how fabrics are processed to meet all requirements. When designing the product we now look at all the stages like composition, way of designing, treatment, life cycle, how is it used, less cleaning pollution, and end of its life to make it biodegradable and recyclable.