Top fabric trends
At Performance Days May 2019
3D textures, engineered layers & functional prints
LTP fabric sourcing manager Laura Didžiokiené and London-based independent design consultant Anne Prahl had a busy time scouting fabric trends at Performance Days in Munich, which showcased updates for Winter 2020/21 and new ideas for Summer 2021. 3D texture, laser-cut and engineered features, functional prints, metallic and crumpled surfaces, as well as transparency and bonded layering featured strongly, as fabrics are becoming more tactile and visually striking than previous seasons.
Baselayers included a wide range of synthetic, natural and blended knit fabrics, in order to provide functional features and benefits, while displaying a strong trend for graphic, geometric and updated camouflage prints and patterns. Many of the qualities on show offer moisture management, odour control, quick-drying and thermo regulation, as well as UV protection.
Singtex’s ICE CAFÉ fabric features a laser cut design and offers odour management, stretch, UV Protection 50+ and quick drying benefits at a weight of 113 grams. ICE-CAFÉ fabrics utilise coffee grounds to provide baselayer qualities suitable for running, cycling and many other outdoor activities. The fabric incorporates a cooling technology, which absorbs heat slowly and then dissipates it quickly, while the S. Café® coffee grounds absorb odours efficiently and move moisture away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric for a faster drying process.
Movetec’s polyester and wool blend caught our eye due to the graphene print on the skin-side of the fabric, which provides high thermal conductivity to achieve excellent thermoregulation. Graphene can enhance the properties of functional fabrics, as it can interact with the body and the environment by dispersing heat in warm conditions, while preserving and distributing it in cold conditions, resulting in the wearer’s ideal temperature at all times.
QUILTED MIDLAYERS & SOFTSHELLS
Midlayer fabrics are generally worn between the outer and baselayers, while softshells can be used as a mid or outer layer. This season, these two categories shared three-dimensional textures and surfaces, such as quilting and stitching, as well as bonded and laminated layers.
Midlayer compositions included synthetics fibres, as well as blends with wool, cotton and other natural fibres, such as tencel and kapok. Jersey specialist Utenos Trikotazas’ recycled polyester and wool mix displayed a tactile, light quilt effect with a colour contrast on the reverse, resulting in a cosy thermo regulation midlayer with high breathability. The company utilise a wide range of natural raw materials in their range, such as linen, hemp and soybean fibre.
Wisher’s M12837R quality successfully combines two of this season’s top trends, quilting and crinkled surfaces. This fabric is woven in one piece with C0 D.W.R. and TPU lamination and the insulation yarns come with Wisher’s ‘NanoHeating Technology’ to absorb and release far-infrared rays. This allows keeping the body warm, while enhancing blood circulation and accelerating metabolism. The fabric also offers thermo regulation, is wind and waterproof and breathable, as well as highly resistant to pilling and snagging.
LIGHTWEIGHT WOVEN SHELLS
This ultra-lightweight, award-winning nylon ripstop by Green Threads was the talk of the fair, due to its presumed status as the world’s lightest down-proof fabric in the market. With a weight of only 18 g, the fabric combines minimal weight with outstanding strength. The fabric is also windproof and the company avoids hazardous chemicals and reduces water usage to produce a more environmental fabric.
Another great example in this category is Schoeller AG’s nylon and silicone down-proof, weighing in at 33 g. This fabric demonstrates an attractive combination of a graphic grid with see-through areas, fitting in well with the ubiquitous transparency trend at the show.
Various suppliers also offered lightweight shells with functional flock prints on the back of the fabric to avoid the fabric sticking to bare skin during exercise and sweating. Two eye-catching examples included Solis’ flock-print dots and Hyperbola’s flock-print camouflage, both on 100% nylon.
FUNCTIONAL OUTER LAYERS
Another strong area at the show were the 2.5 and 3-layer fabrics used for the outer layer of the functional garment system. One of the most striking trends in this area included metallic sheen and foils, while another important look was crinkled or crumpled surfaces that appeared well worn-in.
Both trends were effectively combined in Mectex’s NoxFlow Combo, which has a lightly crumpled and paper-like fabric face, contrasted with a metallic foil on the back. The fabric is phosphorescent in daylight and able to glow at night and provides heat retention as well as being waterproof. Two other great examples were Tohei Tsusho’s waterproof, windproof and breathable 3-layer fabric Ventex Coral with a subtly crumpled surface reminiscent of antique tanned leather and Hyperbola’s 100% polyester diamond crinkle fabric with gold iridescent lamination.
Graphene printing was also showcased in the 2.5 and 3-layer category, where Technow’s printed nylon ripstop provides thermo regulation to the wearer. This fabric is also down-proof, fluorocarbon-free and offers odour management.
As previously REPORTED FROM ISPO 2019, the trend for stitch-free quilting is gaining in popularity for functional and fashionable outerwear, as technologies such as ultrasonic, laser and thermal processes, as well as engineered woven channels, replace traditional stitching methods to achieve improved performance.
Texet’s futuristic looking 3-layer material was created through an ultrasonic quilting process, which allows greater freedom in creating unique patterns. Combined with PU silver lamination, this material offers thermoregulation while being windproof. Singtex’s eco²sy® insulation, kept in place by ultrasonic stitching, is a down-like material made from recycled PET bottles and coffee grounds and provides the wearer with odour control, while producing a windproof, breathable, lightweight and extremely compressible garment.
Other alternatives to traditional stitching featured in Toray’s collection, as the company presented a variety of woven and bonded chamber solutions for technical and fashionable down products. Another interesting solution for nylon and polyester based styles is Technow’s ‘Re-closed’ technology, which utilises a special coating that allows any small holes caused by needles during the sewing process to disappear.
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About LTP Group
LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest functional garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam
LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories.
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: email@example.com