Sport and technology unite in a growing trend for materials imbued with smart protective qualities. Advanced functionalities are discreetly concealed at the core of fibres or within the products to give creative space to fantasy or elegance. A cross of genders and styles – between men and women, between city and outdoor wear – gives prominence to fabrics that combine authenticity and technology, appeal and function, echoing man-made naturals.
As eco-responsible products become the new standard, this pioneering new sector is exploring new avenues. Recycled fibres increase their market penetration across the sport & tech product categories. The recycled offer is everywhere in polyamides, well established in polyester, is progressing in elastane and coming along well in membranes. Biopolymers are now proposed for knits and wovens and have identical properties and qualities as oil-based synthetics. Products’ end-of-life now includes both improvements in biodegradability and the use of recyclable elements and fibres. The traceability of products is simplifying due to the increase in certified fibres and new technology as well as improved transparency across the supply chain.
OUTDOOR Buyers want the technical nature of waterproof, breathable and weather resistant products to be invisible. For outdoor wear in harmony with nature, hiking specialists are looking for a woolly and linen-y feel. The rise of cottony corduroys, new velvets, waterproof synthetic suedes and cosy knits confirms this quest for authenticity. Softness and serenity step into the world of technology. Hot topics include fleeces that are foamy on the inside, soft, plump double-faces, and soft, fleece-backed bondings and woolly piqués. Weather protection is preferred soothing and comforting.
URBAN & LIFESTYLE
Citywear and active-sport crossovers keep on climbing. The demand for high-performance fabrics influenced by the bespoke universe is increasing. Membrane wools are sought after for flawlessly elegant raincoats. On the other hand, for truly sporty uses, patterns inspired by classic menswear and authentic woollens gain ground. Luminous, hi-tech materials channel the athletic vibe.
High-altitude specialists are always on the lookout for more and more performant and feather-light products, for even more extreme conditions. A growing success for extra-fine bondings, slim, flexible and compact three-layers, wind-proof and down-proof qualities. Away from smoothness, there’s a rise in 3D textures, especially ribbed effects, tactile weaves, wrinkled finishes and worn effects.
RUNNING & ATHLEISURE
Breathable, waterproof and windproof, this season’s technical materials is full of movement, especially those satin-y textiles preferred with a shifting lustre and metallizations appreciated for their liquid or sparkling aspects. Even reflective fabrics are chosen for their mesmerizing two-tones gleams. Always hyper technical, never banal.