German designer Anne Prahl to talk at Performance Days

March 30, 2019 - Germany

Leading German designer Anne Prahl is set to talk on new ways to design and produce new functional styles that are stylish and sustainable at Performance Days fair. The leading fair for innovations, trends, and sourcing of fabrics and accessories in functional sportswear, athleisure, safety, durability will be held on May 8 and 9, 2019, in Munich, Germany.

Anne Prahl’s expert talk will investigate what role sustainability plays within the context of beautiful functional fabrics and clothing. She will explore the meaning of beauty and how it can be created through a combination of colour, texture, fabric handle, and garment construction, before outlining some of the sustainability challenges this brings. The talk will also focus on providing inspiring design concepts that embed sustainability principles into the creation of functional clothing to produce clothing that blends aesthetic and tactile beauty with environmental and human wellbeing. This will include concepts for designing products that get better with age and products that become favourites through personalisation and customisation, as well as clothes that exploit ground-breaking textile, colouration, and manufacturing technology innovation, according to a press release by Performance Days.

Talking about the focus topic for the talk ‘The Beauty of Function’ Prahl said, “It’s is a very interesting theme, as it allows us to really explore what makes a fabric beautiful in the context of functional and performance clothing. When I think of the beauty of a functional piece of clothing, colour is a really important factor and personally I love colours that put a smile on my face and I am intrigued by the positive and motivational power of colours during exercise, training, and performance. Functional fabrics and innovative manufacturing technologies play a huge role in enhancing the comfort and wellbeing of the wearer and I think there are exciting innovation opportunities in this field.”

Speaking about what should change regarding aesthetics and touch in the future, while preserving function and performance of fabrics, she said, “I think that fabric mills are becoming more adventurous and innovative when it comes to aesthetics and touch of performance fabrics. I am always amazed at the variety of surfaces and textures on show at Performance Days. My only request would be to merge environmental considerations with the development of aesthetics and fabric handle. We are still seeing the use of too many harmful processes to create these eye-catching surfaces, I would like to see more innovation around fibre and fabric engineering to provide function and performance through construction, rather than finishes and treatments.”

About designing performance clothing in the future, she said, “For the next few years, I expect to see lots of incremental innovation around fabrics, manufacturing, and recycling technologies. We will also see the continuation of new consumption models, such as sharing, rental and reuse, which will have an impact on how functional clothing is designed and used. In response to growing consumer demand, so-called sustainable fabrics will become more ubiquitous and commercially viable. The industry’s long-term future looks more disruptive, as we will see a new generation of bio-based materials that are lab-grown and engineered, as well as 100 per cent recyclable and biodegradable textiles fit for the circular economy. This move will also affect how fabrics are coloured and finished and clothes are manufactured, so they can be fully recyclable or biodegradable at end-of-life. This will no doubt lead to highly unique and surprising aesthetics, silhouettes, and styling. Another important factor in designing and developing functional clothing in the future will be the use of digital and 3D tools and systems. Some of these tools, including digital material libraries, 3D design programs, virtual prototyping, digital, and automated manufacture and digital sales, will provide exciting opportunities for designing and producing original and customised clothing.

Speaking about integrating sustainability into future design and manufacture of performance clothing, Prahl said, “The first step is to have a clear vision on what sustainability means for the brand we are designing for. This vision needs to be inspiring and achievable and requires a good support system, so that designers and developers can make the vision reality through educated choices. In my opinion, we need to embed sustainability right into our design concepts. This can be done through training and inspiring designers on sustainable and circular design strategies and making sure that sustainability becomes part of the design brief. Based on the design concept, we need to choose the best possible fabrics and components, both in terms of environmental and functional performance. As designers, we also need to constantly push fabric suppliers and clothing manufacturers, in order to push the innovation agenda and having a wider selection of sustainable options to choose from in the future.” (GK)