Eco-friendly fabrics a growing force in textiles

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am

NO OTHER TEXTILE fair in the world has pushed the environmentally friendly envelope as far as Interstoff Asia Essential.

Natural fabrics have gone beyond the realm of organic textiles such as cotton and linen, and are now derived from many more unconventional sources such as bamboo, egg protein, milk protein and banana leaves.

For the past two years, the fair has aggressively promoted such fabrics, beginning with its environmentally friendly labelling initiative, which awards textile companies a green leaf logo if they can show that an environmentally friendly component has been used in their fabrics, or some part of their manufacturing process has been eco-friendly. Those with an entire environmentally friendly production chain will be awarded a silver leaf logo.

Of the more than 230 exhibitors, about 20 have been accredited with the green or silver leaf.

'In the past two years we have raised a lot of awareness of environmentally friendly fabrics and a growing number of companies are now producing such materials,' said Katy Lam Oi-mei, director of trade fairs at Messe Frankfurt.

'We want to further educate people in this area, which is why we are giving these fabrics a forum of their own for the first time.'

The 'Eco-textiles: fabrics that care forum' will highlight colour and style trends for these fabrics.

'Eco-textiles are a major new trend in the fabrics industry and we now also have a suitable volume of exhibitors showing these types of fabrics, such that they deserve a showcase of their own,' Ms Lam said.

'Eco-friendly fabrics will be an increasing strong trend over the next five years. Demand is pushing supply, and many companies are looking at cheaper ways of producing these textiles. Demand for organic materials will increase in tandem with the lowering of prices.'