Nanotechnology has helped revolutionise the concept of smart textiles with various offerings in terms of performance, comfortability, cleanliness and current needs. The market for nanotechnology-infused textiles has risen rapidly from $20.3 billion in 2008 and is projected to reach $205 billion by 2022, representing 16 per cent of the global textile industry by value.
Fashion and technology are inevitably a blend of art with each comprising its own advancements and developments. When Malaysian company NanoTextile launched the themes ‘When Fashion Meets Technology’ and ‘When Mighty Meets Nano’ in 2019, fashion companies were quick to pick up on the latest trends. It was the year when we realised that the fashionista and technologist have to collaborate more. NanoTextile did just that by expanding to everything from clothes and business models to innovations in functional products, technical offerings and production. Though clothing is a commodity industry, its future will be about more than just merely covering our bodies.
Nowadays the fashion industry has become more interesting and advanced. The demand has grown so much over the past years that consumers are demanding more than just a fabric. Technology is therefore infused into fashion and that has enhanced its level. Based on a report published by Cientifica Research in 2016, textile industry players look forward to improve technology adoption. By 2022, nanotechnology in the textile industry will be a $3.5-billion opportunity for wearables, comprising half of the total textile market. The market for nanotechnology-infused textiles has risen rapidly from $20.3 billion in 2008 and is projected to reach $205 billion by 2022, representing 16 per cent of the global textile industry by value.
NanoTextile offers the scope for both investment and opportunity for all main players in the industry to bridge the gap. The initiatives make a decent impact when industries invest billions of money on nanotechnology to create sustainable alternatives. The gaining pace becomes faster as it is driven by consumer demand. The fashion industry and technology combine from manufacturing process until the end product to satisfy consumer demand. The application of nanotechnology offers advantages in the fashion industry with various offerings in terms of performance, comfortability, cleanliness and current needs.
Comfort is one of the vital attributes in fashion. It is the one of the contributing factors affecting sales. Demand has tilted to products that ensure comfort while maintaining a sense of fashion. Focus has shifted to movement of heat and water vapour in garments. Heat transfer through a fabric is a complex process, which can be affected by the thickness of the fabric and fabric type. Nanofibre technology had been used to reduce the thickness and weight of fabrics. This has since become the precise measure of comfort. Fashion designers can now choose and allocate their designs according to the wider range of fabric choices.
When Fashion Meets Technology has definitely infused confidence among consumers. The idea was to convey the message that technology can be used to improve the current state of fabric. With embedded nanotechnology as an added value proposition, many new functionalities are being introduced. For instance, our collaboration with Malaysian kids apparel brand Poney in 2019 targets a specific audience with the launch of Baby Essential Extra Care collection with anti-bacterial properties. We have since received feedback and gained confidence among parents to offer extra protection and comfort in our nanotechnology-enhanced products. Nanotechnology offers a variety of protection possibilities to fabric. Our proprietary technologies and processes give resultant effects ranging from UV protection to anti-microbial properties, odour control and self-cleaning functionalities. For modernisation of the clothing industry, NanoTextile offers a new approach to fabric materials processing. Nanotechnology-embedded fabrics can be modified to do almost everything, including quick drying and breathing and resist liquids.
E-commerce has also been seen as the next complementary technology to allow fashion to work its best. Social networking technology allows business owners and designers to promote their products all over the world with just one click. In recent years, the revolution of fashion along with these enabling technologies has made clothing relatively cheaper.
From light-weight and wrinkle-free fabrics to non-woven textile incorporated with sensors, fashion has no limits when it comes to infusion of technology. Nanotechnology has helped revolutionise the concept of smart textiles. When combined, fashion and technology have jointly delivered incredible range of performance benefits. This unique combination will continue to meet consumer expectations. These three pillarstechnology, fashion and consumerswould interchangeably shape the modern day perspective toward textiles.