The Sport & Tech universe moves towards greater sustainability and controlled environmental impact, while avoiding cartoonish or over-the-top claims or labels. Compositions are subtly diversifying to better target uses. They are clearly responding to increasingly stringent specifications as to the origin of resources and product end-of-life. The increased presence of vegetable fibers, bio-sourced synthetics, and cellulosic blends answers a desire for more natural materials in sports. The need for elasticity is driving alternatives to virgin elastane, but it’s no longer taboo to do without it if it’s not needed. Colors and handles reflect a more tender approach that upsets sport codes and stirs new sensations.
Natural fibers and chemicals are profoundly redefining the profile of technical and performance fabrics.
Blends incorporating organic or recycled cotton are decreasing the percentage of petroleum-based synthetics in their compositions, without sacrificing the technical nature of the fabrics, imparting impeccable surfaces and a feel that meets market expectations. Polyamides derived from plants such as castor beans, soybeans, corn and agricultural waste are playing an important role in fabric compositions. Membranes and elastanes incorporate synthetic materials from renewable and/or biodegradable resources. Green chemistry is gaining ground with bio-sourced coatings and treatments. The growing popularity of linen and hemp heralds technical textiles firmly rooted in nature. Their finely slubbed yarns introduce a lively irregularity to the surface- of high-performance rainwear and multilayers.
A new definition of comfort: non-restrictive and away from the body for greater ease of movement.
Fluidity is moving firmly into the world of sport, and not just soft sports. While second-skin knits continue to conquer the market with cellulosic compositions, biopolymers, soft handles and colorways marked by a strange softness, they are no longer destined solely for sheathing but also for body-conscious draping. The fineness and micro-smoothness of wovens target ultra-light and ever-so-slightly romantic outerwear, with down-proof and windproof qualities. More surprisingly, this ultimate suppleness almost steps into the world of outdoor wear, redefining the comfort of lightweight pants and creating new volumes for in trekking and rock-climbing gear. Matte, hyper-elastic and weightless, they combine water-repellent qualities with a high density.
Practical, everyday and multi-use fabrics designed for getting in and around in the city evolve in a luxury direction.
Nothing is elegant or refined enough when it comes to city mobility. It’s no longer enough to enhance classic references when hitting the city streets and finding shelter from the storm. Now, looks have to have seductive appeal and shine! Tuxedo looks step into cycling gear with waterproof duchesse satins, windproof twills with a glazed shine, water-resistant taffetas with a silky luster. A hint of real silk makes its way into blends. The refinement of weaves can only be spotted up-close. Neither plain weave, nor serge twill, nor ripstop – rue originality here is tucked inside the details. Micro diamond stitches and piqués, miniature complex structures and broken twills.
Useful, sustainable performance
Less is better: a soft revolution is underway in sport products and functional wear.
Racing to the extreme is over, except for very specific uses such as workwear or specific climate conditions. Functional features are no longer piled into fabrics unless necessary – if momentary rain protection is enough, absolute waterproofing isn’t always needed. No need to be overzealous about elasticity either. Issues of recyclability and microfiber dispersion encourage the use of elastane whenever possible. Multilayers are rethought by simplifying their compositions, using the natural extensibility of certain fibers, and fine-tuning spinning and constructions that provide flexibility.
Luminous and translucent colors and textures seem to emerge from an enticing metaverse.
The ethereal magic of color-filtering fabrics evoke digital imagery, and dream-like simulations. These textiles with their delicate fineness, honeycombed textures and deceptively fragile wrinklings and seersucker embossings protect quite effectively from wind and rain. They’re also ready to integrate fine, warming paddings. Plastic coatings play on artificial shades, with hypnotic reflections and iridescence. Camouflage motifs create abstract, synthetic landscapes. Retro-reflectives take on luminous, candy-like hues.
Objective: leave no trace
The focal point of the sports and tech sector.
From raw material to dyeing and finishing, the search for improved biodegradability is everywhere, with bio-sourced synthetics, and biodegradable polyester found in yarns and membranes. Recycled and / or recyclable, PLA, ricin, recycled TPU aim to replace conventional fibers and chemicals at all stages of production.