Textiles

While cotton is still the most widely used textile in apparel manufacturing, new competitors are entering the market all the time. Natural fibers like bamboo and hemp that used to be relegated to the construction materials market have gotten a boost from sustainability-conscious consumers. At the same time, the burgeoning “athleisure” market has given designers a new canvas to showcase cutting-edge performance textiles.

While there are hundreds of exciting new materials entering the market, here’s a preview of three textiles that are rapidly changing fashion:

1 ). Crypton Fabrics’ Nanotex. Nanotex is a family of textiles that use cutting edge nanotechnology to build waterproofing, stainproofing, and more into the textile’s molecular structure without ruining its natural feel.

The process starts with dipping whatever natural or synthetic fiber is being treated in a proprietary solution, then drying it at a specific temperature to create “nano-whiskers” on the fabric’s surface. These nano-whiskers allow further treatments to bond with the fabric, along with a signature DNA tracer that allows vendors down the apparel manufacturing supply chain to spot counterfeits.

It’s likely that some Nanotex garment will be in your closet soon — they’ve already partnered with Gap, UnderArmour, L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, and many other brands.

2.) SAS Textiles Performance Knits. SAS Textiles uses an old-fashioned process called circular knitting to deliver cutting edge fabrics. The new material can be used to create seamless garments, making it ideal for stretchy performance fabrics. Sean Sassourian, president and CEO of the company, says that they’re capable of making a variety of unique items, “including single and double jerseys, stripers, electronic jacquards, mini-jacs, fleeces, terries and sweater knits, allow[ing] us to create performance fabrics that go beyond the basics, including hard-to-find structures such as meshes and spacers.”

Using 133 of the latest automated circular knitting machines at a new facility in Mexico, SAS textiles has partnered with a number of brands to deliver garments for the seemingly unstoppable athleisure market. These new machines allow the company to work with extremely fine natural and synthetic fibers to create unique textures and designs with familiar materials. Be on the lookout for some interesting workout (and post-workout lounging) gear based on their technology this summer.

3.) Unifi’s Polyesters and Synthetics. Like Nanotex, Unifi specializes in fabric treatments that give their natural and synthetic fibers advantageous qualities. Another beneficiary of the athleisure boom, they’ve expanded production of their performance polyester knits in the US and Central America over the past few months.

Already partnered with The North Face and other apparel manufacturing leaders, Unifi brings some unique fabrics to the table. Their Anti-Microbial Yarn line inhibits as much as 99.9% of microbial growth, while other treatments block UV radiation, repel moisture, or make garments flame retardant. If one treatment isn’t enough, their All-in-One Performance Yarn allows you to pick exactly what combination of enhancements you want.

While performance textiles with unique qualities have long been a part of the world of athletic and tactical apparel manufacturing, they’re just starting to take root in the wardrobes of everyday consumers. As more options arise that provide benefits like added softness, warmth, and stretchiness to staple garments like t-shirts and jeans, it won’t be long before everyone is wearing them.

With constant innovation in textiles and manufacturing processes, it can be challenging to keep your fashion business on the cutting edge, but Apparel Business Systems can help. Our apparel manufacturing software give you the power to analyze your business in real time, and our expert consultants can help you make the right choices to stay ahead of the trends. Contact us today for more information.