Top 10 technical fabric innovations

mushroom_materialsCourtesy of FabricLink comes word of their annual pick of top textile innovations for 2013-2014. Sure, we’ve all heard of textile prototypes in a lab but all too frequently, the fabrics never get out of beta. All of these have and are ready for sale. Here are the ones that I’ve been keeping an eye on:

From dirt to shirt, CRAiLAR® is a linen fabric that requires less water and chemicals in at least two ways. First it uses less pesticides and fertilizers in growing, and second, the fibers are processed into thread with a proprietary enzymatic process. Moreover, it is virtually indistinguishable from cotton (yay, less ironing!). “The fiber is strong, dries quickly, wicks moisture and is shrink resistant.”

The EQ-Top Seismic Wallpaper caught my eye because I wondered, idly, if it could be used to make corsets. That’s me, always wanting to repurpose materials however possible. Seriously, it’s a fiber product designed to stabilize walls during earthquakes -see what I mean about industrial grade shapewear? Okay, I don’t expect this material will have much appeal for this crowd but isn’t it cool?

Geckskin™  (also) is a product I’ve had my eye on for quite a long time. It’s an adhesive product that will compete (to some extent) in the hook and loop (Velcro) space. The fabric was designed after careful analysis of gecko foot anatomy. The video demonstration is quite impressive; a strip of fabric that is the size of a large index card, lifts 700 lbs, yet the fabric can be easily pulled from its mounting, leaving no residue at all.

Mushroom® Materials is not a material you’ll be cutting and sewing but since it may be replacing plastics (hopefully) it could be used as packaging for your items . There is more to it of course because unlike any of the other fibers in this list, it is grown, not made. Using agricultural waste products to grow the mycelium fungus, it is akin to a nature’s version of a 3D printer -with a little assistance of course. And, it’s fully compostable too. Pretty neat!

There are other fibers on the list that caught my eye -namely RamTect™, which is a wool insulating product purported to be as light as down but just as warm, but you can read about it and the other prize winning fibers at FabricLink.

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