A PLAN FOR ALL SEASONS – ADVANCING SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH TECH
Following another successful exhibition at Munich Fabric Start, we’d like to thank our 700+ guests who came along to our Nex Tex textile innovations showcase for their support and positive feedback. We were delighted to see some repeat visitors and many more new ones – including representatives from big brands like Adidas and Hugo Boss – so keep an eye out for a fresh crop of members on the Sourcebook platform!
For the first time, the Keyhouse space was open for the whole three-day duration of the trade fair highlighting the ever growing demand for innovation in the fashion and textile industries. Whether that’s wearables, advanced materials or sustainable production, new ideas and business opportunities were presented via the next generation of manufacturing techniques and technologies on show.
A central theme running throughout the fair was the acknowledgement that the fashion industry at large no longer follows the classic seasonal calendar, instead increasingly adapting to global, real-life necessities and changing customer values. The rise of the mindful consumer sees a desire for transparency across the supply chain, favouring ethical, socially- and eco-conscious methods. This, with the help of online retailers and platforms like Sourcebook, has opened up the channel for smaller manufacturers to reach a wider audience, no longer having to solely rely on local or niche markets. In anticipation of a progressively active consumer and widespread ‘prosumption’, mass-market customisation technologies, such as 3D printers, were also key exhibits/hot topics.
Rethinking garment production in the digital age was explored in our Next Tex Talks with Sourcebook’s very own Marte Henschel, Deniz Thiede of Triple Tree Solutions, Dorothee Ebert from KPMG presenting the Microsoft HoloLens, and Thomas Fischer of TCBL: Textile and Clothing Business Labs. The textile trade is probably the last and largest analogue dinosaur yet to feel the full force of digital disruption, and so our speakers set out to show how this is changing.
Transparency, speed and accuracy are the core principles of the Quonda app created by Triple Tree Solutions as a mobile textile manufacturer monitoring system, providing real-time audit and data analysis from around the globe at every stage of the quality management system (QMS). On the other hand, TCBL and Sourcebook help to empower smaller, local enterprises – particularly little known, often older, businesses that are experts in their field – by connecting them to each other, new technologies and practices to promote sustainable production models.
As one would expect, the mixed reality Microsoft HoloLens was a huge hit at Next Tex. A powerful branding tool, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) is a firm favourite of marketing and sales teams for their interactive, storytelling abilities. Examples from the world of fashion include the Dior Eyes headset that puts you in the front-row at the latest catwalk show, while other virtual in-store experiences include designing your own Nike sneakers – and giant water holograms don’t get much more impressive than at the Jordan Melo M8 launch. Before Snapchat filters could turn you into a dog, L’Oreal unleashed their AR Makeup Genius app so you could try before you buy from the comfort of your own home. Eventually 3D body scanning will let you create your own personal avatar that can go shopping and try on clothes for you online.
Beyond advertising and e-commerce however, headsets like the HoloLens have also proven to be particularly pioneering in research and development. For instance, Adidas uses VR for prototyping sneakers, so there’s no need to physically create multiple mockups, therefore saving on materials, labour costs and time. Furthermore, sophisticated technology lets you know instantly, if new design features are not structurally possible and allows for collaborative production between different locations.
Last but not least, our RIFT: ‘Responsible Innovators for Fashion and Textiles’ panel discussion opened up the dialogue on how to bridge the gap between technology and sustainability. We were very pleased to have Hightex Award-winning Kassim Denim on the panel, who won the Munich Fabric Start innovation prize for its Invisible jeans that clean air pollution by photocatalytic nanocomposites in the denim that eliminate pollutants simply with the help of sunlight. In a nod to the fact that sustainable practice and technology are merging, the Organic Selection was, naturally, placed in the Keyhouse innovations hub right next to the Hightex Award presentations site.
Without inter-industry co-operation, issues like global warming, environmental pollution and sweatshops will only get worse, but we, as both producers and consumers, are also responsible for making less, buying better and vice versa. Fashion is after all about change – so make sure to be the change you want to see!
Once again we would like to give a big thank you to our visitors and exhibitors, and look forward to seeing you at the next fair.