Specialty Fabrics Review May 2021 - 54

[ MARKETS ] INDUSTRY IN FOCUS

What's next for design?

Want more? We have it!
Search " responsive textiles " at
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com

There's a clear story playing out with
both remote and essential workers
and responsive textile design. People
are leading lives where transitions are
tricky or nonexistent, and we need our
fashion choices to help us make those
necessary leaps.
Consumers first need to understand
and believe that they can really put
an item of clothing on and derive
benefits that go beyond looking great.
Many people are skeptical about
technology once it gets close to their
personal lives. They hear " infrared "
or " electromagnetic radiation, " for
instance, and their minds jump to
conclusions that are unsupported
by scientific understanding. Even if
consumers reach the point of belief, is
a smart textile worth the extra cost to
them? Are they aware enough of the
benefits to take that pricier leap?
Now, COVID-19 has tackled some
of these consumer awareness and

 With athleisurewear as workwear becoming popular during the pandemic, brands are
adapting to meet consumer demand. The emergence of infrared responsive textiles proves
that clothing can support health and wellness. Photo: DocuSign on Unsplash.

54 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / May 2021

perception barriers by introducing
lifestyle changes that could make
customers more receptive to responsive
textile technology. Health and wellness
are increased priorities, and there's a
heightened understanding of the value
of oxygenation. Plus, the growth of
athleisure sales tells us that consumers
now clearly understand the value of
clothes that serve a dual purpose (style
and performance, in this case) and are
willing to pay the extra cost.
The data bears this out: According
to new research by Mintel, adults
are feeling motivated to set goals for
themselves in order to take control of
their mental and physical well-being.
This includes exercising more and
spending more time in outdoor spaces.
In short, we're beginning to see a
market ripe for responsive technology,
and a significant set of consumers are
willing to pay more for something that
has tangible wellness value.

Adding value
The advent of athleisure a few years
ago took brands to a new place
conceptually. They understood that
combining fashion and performance
was possible-and more so, that it
was desired by the consumer. We can
make something that looks good
and provides some other value. That
value could have multiple surprising
meanings. Could our clothes save the
planet? Could our clothes calm us
down? Tell us when we need to eat or
sleep? Could they help us become a
better version of ourselves?
With the incredible explosion of
athleisure wear, designers will become
increasingly experimental in their
choices of materials as well as their
purpose. And as the cost of adding
these new components decreases, more
advanced functionality can (and will)
be built in.


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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2021

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