Last week we were delighted to welcome hundreds of visitors over two days to the 5th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo, inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia exhibition centre. The 5th Future Fabrics Expo presented a curated showcase of globally sourced materials with reduced environmental impacts, featuring approximately 1500 qualities from over 80 mills, with sustainability information displayed for each mill and fabric.
We additionally presented a seminar on how to source more sustainably, exploring our top tips and strategies for sustainable sourcing, key innovations we have discovered, and how different ways of measuring impacts can help you build a more sustainable supply chain.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo enabled visitors to join the dots of their supply chain, reinforced by key research and resources for sustainable textiles and fashion, including the Higg Index by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). SAC is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainability across the entire supply chain. SAC has developed the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all levels of industry. The expo also featured String3 by Historic Futures, a powerful new digital alternative to manual supply chain intelligence gathering processes, which supports the traceability of raw materials, as well as an exhibition of designs from The EcoChic Design Award, which is organised by Redress.
A key focus for the 5th Future Fabrics Expo was to showcase leading innovations from around the world, summarised by highlighting our ‘Top 5’ innovations including leather alternatives made from waste pineapple leaf fibre, South American giant mushrooms, and natural rubber from the Amazon rainforest, along with biodegradable resin buttons, and organically tanned by-product exotic fish skin and ostrich leather.
Other exciting materials and processes showcased included:
- Technical fabrics finished with waterless dyeing
- Responsible exotic leathers tanned without heavy metals
- Recycled polyester technical fabrics with recycled and recyclable membranes
- Low impact British wool
- British made hemp and organic cotton blends
- The first developments of digital printing achieved using natural dyes
Two of our sponsors, Kassim Textiles and Elmer & Zweifel respectively showcased the highest quality reduced impact denims made with diverse fibres including linen and Tencel®, and responsibly made organic cotton in a range of knitted and woven qualities.
For the first time we also welcomed the Taiwan Textile Federation to join the expo to showcase leading Taiwan Eco Textiles focusing on performance and technical textiles. Hundreds of innovative materials were showcased from the Taiwanese mills Everest, Minlan, Tai Yuen, Merryson, Lily Textile and Grandtek, suited to a wide range of applications from active wear to fashion. The interest generated by these mills was indicative of the quality of the materials on offer, and Taiwan’s increasing success at developing high quality materials with a reduced environmental impact.
We have come away from our 5th Future Fabrics Expo feeling energised by the increasing commitment from brands to consider more deeply their material and manufacturing choices, and from mills to work collaboratively with the industry to help reduce impact across the supply chain. The Future Fabrics Expo provides not only a dedicated hub for sustainable sourcing, but also a dynamic networking forum – a place for sharing best practice for the benefit of all. There is still a long way to go, and we look forward to working with more brands to help embed sustainability throughout business activity.
Even if you didn’t make it to the expo you can still discover hundreds of sustainable materials from the Future Fabrics Expo by visiting www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. In addition, the whole Future Fabrics Expo can be booked by brands and organisations, to be brought to their HQ or events – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo took place on 29th – 30th September 2015 inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia exhibition centre.
Photography by Zephie Begolo.