In recent years, the awareness and commitment of key players in the textile sector has coupled with changing consumer habits and has led to the implementation of concrete solutions to promote a more ethical and responsible fashion.
What are the fabrics of tomorrow? Nathalie Ruelle, professor at the Institut Français de la Mode, fabric specialist, explains her point of view.
How do you see the fabrics of tomorrow?
Tomorrow’s fabrics are above all more traceable throughout the supply chain, that is, where the yarn and materials come from. It’s difficult to know where cotton or wool comes from, for example, or even to know if it’s recycled polyester or not. In parallel to that, there is a great axis of development, how to find new materials, since the main issue is to use new resources, but is it recycled fiber? New fibers?
Whatever the origin of the material, they need to be transparent about it. In particular, it is also to find new materials, and to fix the new sources of supply. This is the work in collaboration with the spinner. The spinners must succeed in making yarn with yarns that come from other materials. And this is not an easy thing at all. In parallel to this search for new sources of raw materials, the manufacturing process must have as little impact as possible.
In France, are designers and consumers starting to be sensitive to ecological fabrics?
Of course, when consumers think of eco-responsible fashion, they immediately think of materials: recycled cotton, recycled polyester, recycled materials or even labels. Consumers also think that Made in France products are eco-responsible, but a product made in France may not be an ecological product.
For the last 5 years , we have seen a return to a sensitivity and an expectation of ecological fabrics, but also a need for information or questioning about them.
Their interest has been growing since the end of the pandemic in Europe. It is not yet fully visible with consumer purchases, but there is nevertheless, a real expectation and curiosity about it.
Does bamboo fiber have a future?
The problem with bamboo fiber is that it started very strong in the mid-2000s when we labeled bamboo and not viscose. It’s very interesting because viscose from bamboo is a very easily renewable resource, very absorbent, and very soft. It is a product that has its qualities. But some problematic of bamboo fiber is the traceability and the transparency.
Lyocell, modal, have the same qualities of product and a greater traceability. In the textile profession, bamboo fiber must regain the reliability it had lost. It is necessary to know where it comes from thanks to its traceability.
This can work for a brand, if a supplier ensures the origin and is transparent, with photos and places, regarding the quality of the product. Viscose is made from bamboo, but it is still a viscose! It is therefore necessary, to classify them by brands. It is recognizable with the help of a tracer and with the ways of doing. I
f it is possible to demonstrate that it is bamboo and its origin, it would then have more chance concerning the future of the bamboo fiber. Also, it is necessary to know how to communicate the brand of bamboo viscose that it can be.
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