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How functional are natural fibres and materials? The new Nature Performance area at Techtextil provides answers

18 Mar 2024

Whether architecture, mobility, agriculture, industry or clothing: Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in all fields of application for technical textiles and textile technologies. For this reason, the leading international trade fair Techtextil, taking place from 23 to 26 April 2024 together with Texprocess, sets a special focus on this future-oriented topic. The professional highlight in this context is the Nature Performance area in the Fibres & Yarns product segment.

Whether bio-based, recycled or degradable materials, circular economy or regenerative design: the development of sustainable solutions in the textile industry is progressing at a rapid pace. The driving forces behind this are no longer solely the ecological benefits. Today, sustainable products and processes are in no way inferior to their conventional competitors in terms of performance and are also increasingly profitable. More than 15 per cent of the exhibitors at Techtextil already have natural fibres and materials in their product range.

Photo: Jean-Luc Valentin / Messe Frankfurt
Photo: Jean-Luc Valentin / Messe Frankfurt

"As one of the major drivers in the textile industry, sustainability is increasingly becoming a decisive business factor. With our new formats, we are creating platforms for relevant innovations and innovative pacemakers in the industry and supporting market participants from all areas of production and application in networking in a sustainable context," says Sabine Scharrer, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles & Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt, describing the objective of the new programme.

New: Nature Performance area

A special highlight at Techtextil is the "Nature Performance" area. This is located in Hall 9.1 in the Fibres & Yarns product segment. The participating exhibitors will be presenting state-of-the-art alternative, recyclable and sustainable materials with future-proof functional properties. Their spectrum ranges from natural fibres and materials to bio-based fibres and materials. The exhibitor presentations will focus on their performance for a wide range of applications, from architecture, construction, mobility and medicine to the garment industry.

One of the exhibitors in the Nature Performance Area is the Swiss start-up OceanSafe, which is presenting its "naNea" innovation here. "In terms of durability and performance, our Cradle to Cradle certified fibres and yarns even surpass the classic solution, as they are not only biodegradable, but also inherently flame-retardant and hydrophilic. This makes them particularly attractive for many fields of application, from fashion and sportswear to industry and automotive," explains Manuel Schweizer, founder and CEO of OceanSafe. "Sustainability only works in collaboration with research, manufacturing companies, brands and new technologies, which requires good visibility of innovations and new developments. We therefore very much welcome the fact that Techtextil is bringing the topic into the spotlight so prominently with this concentrated area," he says, emphasising the value of the area for the industry.

„For an up-and-coming company like Vegeto, Techtextil is a valuable opportunity to introduce our plant-based thermal insulation made from milkweed fibers to new markets. It opens the door to new business relationships with those most interested in textile innovation, in a space dedicated to sustainable materials. There is enormous potential for natural fibers and it is crucial to make these performant eco-friendly solutions widely available. Techtextil is therefore definitely a good place to join a vast network of proactive suppliers“, says Ghyslain Bouchard, General Manager of Vegeto.

New: Future Materials by FranklinTill

In the same area, the renowned trend and future agency FranklinTill invites visitors to gain an exciting insight into the current state of regenerative design. Under the title Future Materials, FranklinTill curates and honours visionary designers and producers who are making a special contribution in this field. The globally orientated material library showcases state-of-the-art textiles, successful approaches and progressive projects, opening up new perspectives for products, partnerships and networks for interested visitors. In addition to Heimtextil, the successful exhibition will also be presented at Techtextil for the first time in 2024. (A look at the material library)

New: Econogy

The Nature Performance area is part of the Econogy programme which Messe Frankfurt has introduced for its global textile events. The new label consolidates the numerous networking and information formats on the topic of sustainability and creates transparency through standardised evaluation criteria. The term Econogy stands for the inseparable link between economy and ecology and thus indicates the direction of the future-oriented guiding theme.

Econogy Finder: The Econogy Finder is a key element of the programme. The online directory comprehensively lists exhibitors with sustainable offers that have been certified and checked by experts. At Techtextil itself, the green label on the exhibition stands identifies Econogy exhibitors. In this way, visitors can also spontaneously discover interesting new partners for their sustainable strategies.

Econogy Talks: The Econogy Talks provide current topics and solutions. The high-profile lectures and discussion panels will take place as part of the Techtextil Forum in Hall 9.1. The topics range from new technologies to product innovations. Ricardo Vega Ayora from ITA Academy GmbH, for example, will address the question of how AI can be used for energy optimisation. Or Robin Oddon from Techtera and Johannes Leis from STFI, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. shed light on the development of circular processes for carbon and glass fibre composites in the MC4 project.

The Econogy Tours, on the other hand, are led by independent experts from the branch to selected companies which are convincing with their sustainable approaches and offerings. During the tour, participants immerse themselves in the latest innovations and technologies, get to know visionary providers and network with potential partners and interested peers across sectors.

The events Techtextil and Texprocess will be held from 23 to 26 April 2024.

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Mira Engl

Marketing Communications / Media Relations

Mira Engl

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