Increased innovation on wovens
Increased innovation on wovens, as bike running & athleisure categories continue to grow
Woven fabric trends at Performance Days
Here at LTP, we are seeing a strong increase in our woven business, as woven products have upsurged by 40% in Vietnam, due to many brands switching a big part of their production from China to Vietnam. In our European setup in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, woven products have increased by 10%, a trend, which can be explained by the growing interest in athleisure and running products. Specifically, we have seen a strong boost for woven products such as ski and outdoor jackets and trousers, as well as mountain biking jackets and shorts in our Vietnam factory, while in Lithuania the focus has been on lightweight jackets and stretch shorts for athleisure and running and high-end technical jerseys, bibs, lightweight jackets and gilets for bike.
This trend was also reflected at Performance Days, where our team, fabric sourcing manager Laura Didžiokiené and independent design consultant Anne Prahl met with European and Far Eastern suppliers to view their latest woven fabric developments for bike, running and athleisure.
These fabrics are suitable for highly breathable, wind, shower or waterproof cover-ups, such as packable jackets for bike, running and outdoor and are also great options for down products.
Green Threads’ 18 g nylon ripstop was the lightest in show, followed by TORAY’s mini ripstop at 21 g and Schoeller AG’s nylon and silicone down-proof fabric at 33 g. TORAY showcased their range of ultra-lightweight fabrics with several concept garments, including cycling and running shells, as well as premium down jackets.
TORAY’s Airtastic range offers lightweight, minimal packing volume fabrics and the fine-denier yarn provides extremely soft touch in combination with a unique air permeability control technology to allow applications across a wide range of sports including running, fitness, training and outdoor.
Functional prints & textures
While lightweight jackets may be worn over several layers in colder conditions, they are often worn directly over a baselayer and are therefore prone to sticking to the skin when sweating. Therefore, an important feature is ‘against skin comfort’ and we noticed some great fabrics with functional prints or textures on the skin-side to address this.
Added texture, created through fabric construction or by printing, allows for optimal moisture transport and stops the fabric from clinging to the wearer. Great examples of printed solutions included Solis’ flock-print dots and Hyperbola’s flock-print camouflage, both on 100% nylon.
Formosa’s eye-catching 100% nylon 2-way stretch fabric combines a comfortable texture on the skin-side with a water reactive print on the fabric face, which will change appearance when wet, while their 100% PA66, breathable, waterproof 2.5-layer fabric (photo in header), has a decorative print on the membrane.
Crumpled & paper-like handle
The trend for crumpled and creased surfaces and paper-like fabric handle was visible across fabrics for athleisure jackets, as well as more technical jackets for sports and outdoor.
Nonwoven high-density polyethylene, also known as Tyvek, made a surprising comeback as both Hyperbola and Solis offered appealing versions of this fabric. Hyperbola added surface interest with an abstract print, while Solis’ kept the outside plain and added a print to the inside, making the fabrics suitable for lightweight, tear-resistant, durable and windproof jackets and bags.
Mectex are experts at pushing the boundaries of merging comfort and function to produce high-tech developments for the sports and outdoor market. Their collection includes NexFlow Graphene, a graphene membrane that is water-repellent, antimicrobial and breathable, while NoxFlow Combo has an appealing, lightly creased and worn-in looking fabric face, contrasted by a reflective, heat-retaining metallic foil on the back. Other interesting interpretations of this trend were Bristex’s 100% recycled polyester fabric, which is suitable for lightweight, packable shell jackets, and Tohei Tsusho’s waterproof, windproof and breathable 3-layer fabric Ventex Coral with a subtly crumpled surface reminiscent of antique tanned leather.
With the growing demand for technical wovens for the bike, running and athleisure sectors, we noticed some interesting qualities, which combined unique textures with stretch properties to provide ultimate freedom of movement for products such as bike and running shorts and lightweight jackets.
Taiana’s CLIMA4 is a highly functional woven fabric, offered in a variety of appealing surface designs and is part of the Kinetech range, which is engineered to strategically embed desirable characteristics into fabrics for cycling and running apparel. These fabrics boast features such as the company’s unique quad stretch, which provides stretch into four directions, as well as durability, anti-pilling, breathability, diverse degrees of compression, UV protection and fast drying.
IBQ’s CELL fabric has an attractive 3D surface and was developed as a reinforcement to provide excellent abrasion resistance and durability. These features make the fabric a strong candidate for active apparel that will experience everyday use and needs to be easy to care for, while resisting wear and tear.
Durable & abrasion resistant
Durability was a strong theme at the show, as traditional workwear and extreme condition fabrics spilled over into the urban bike sector, where reliable and robust products than can withstand everyday use, are highly desirable. Many of the fabrics shown as part of the safety and durability theme were also suitable for activities such as mountain biking and climbing, as well as other outdoor activities.
IBQ’s TILE fabric has an attractive honeycomb pattern and was developed to provide a reinforcement fabric for areas such as knees and elbows, or any other areas that are prone to tearing, snagging or abrasion. The fabric is still in the prototype stage but will be considered for production, subject to a positive response following Performance Days and Techtextil. A high level of durability was achieved through construction and the high percentage of nylon, while other qualities in the company’s ripstop collection rely on the use of Dyneema®, as well as Kevlar® and Cordura®. These yarns are highly resistant to cuts, abrasion and scuffs and further provide high-grip and anti-slip properties, making IBQ fabrics attractive for a wide range of extreme outdoor applications.
In a similar vein, Taiana showcased their 4-way stretch black and white ripstop with Dyneema®, which is credited with being 15 times stronger than steel, while being extremely lightweight. Woven high-tech fabric mill FOV also offered a black and white ripstop with a distinctive irregular appearance. This fabric is composed of 76% nylon, 17% polyurethane and liquid crystal polymer, which is a high performance thermoplastic yarn with exceptional strength and rigidity, claimed to be five times stronger than steel and ten times stronger than aluminium.
Combining durability with sustainability, Everest presented their Ever Bio-membrane. The company are proud to be the first apparel fabric mill to be on-board for this collaboration to incorporate bio-based membranes and coatings based on Susterra® propanediol from DuPont Tate & Lyle into a variety of CORDURA® brand fabrics. The result is a highly durable collection of 2 to 3-layer fabrics with the look and feel of cotton.
This trend is a strong direction for technical and multi-functional shirts, shorts and jackets for the bike and outdoor sector and featured highly functional interpretations of classic designs, such as traditional checks and pinstripes.
Hyperbola’s tricot backed fabric takes its inspiration from classic tailoring fabrics and is equipped with a breathable lamination, making it suitable for smart technical outdoor or commuter bikewear jackets, which could be worn over several layers or directly over a baselayer.
Another design reminiscent of classic tailoring was the technical pinstripe fabric from Taiana’s Kinetech range, which could be used for cycling and running shorts, tops and lightweight cover-ups. This stretchy fabric is highly breathable and offers antibacterial protection, while offering durability, pilling resistance and fast drying.
About Anne Prahl
Anne is a London-based, independent design professional specialising in sustainable design, research and innovation for the sportswear and fashion industry. You can find out more about her work via LINKEDIN or get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.