ATV Assignment 4 Yarn and linear exploration. Research point one.

ATV Part four, Yarn and linear exploration

Research point one


The Wool Lab issue a seasonal guide twice a year (Autumn/winter & Spring/Summer) that showcases samples of commercially available fabrics which are “aligned to the seasons macro-themes”. The guide is used to inspire the textile industry on the different uses of merino wool. The guide includes mood boards, swatches and colour cards for each theme. This is a good tool for designers and can help them to source new materials and see what is current. It has over 100 spinners and weavers involved in the guide. It is presented at trade shows such as Ideabiella Moda In, Intertextile, Ispo, Premiere Vision, spin expo, Pitti Vomo and Pitti Filati.

Themes for 2018 included sustainability and fashion tech and were presented at Milano Unica.  Merino wool garments with open weave structures to lend cooling to the cloth, crease resistant and resilient with natural strength and moisture absorption.

“100% wool was imaginatively used in original designs by Dashing Tweeds, who had called their imaginative cloths after romantically-named sea areas intoned musically each night in the BBC weather forecast. Said Founder Guy Hills: “For the summer months, we have found that little beats a fine Merino wool cloth for easy, crumple-free suits.” Adding more open weave structures has led to an element of cooling to the cloths – “wool is a surprisingly cool fabric to wear. The threads actually absorb more moisture than cotton, dry faster than most yarns, and act as a full ultraviolet sun block.”” [1]

I also found on this website a very useful page about the latest innovations with Merino wool. Here are links to the articles on 3 new innovations.

OPTIM- Wool OPTIM technology. The fabric is constructed at very high levels of thread density in warp and weft using fine merino wool yarns that have been stretched, but not set, during OPTIM processing. When the fabric is wet finished the stretch is released causing yarns to contract leading to an extreme tightening of the fabric structure and the creation of an immensely dense fabric. After optimising the spinning, weaving and finishing processes the fabrics made from these elastic merino wool fibres have enhanced water and wind resistant properties but are still breathable and machine washable. Full article here

Wool footwear- Shoes that enhance the fibres natural properties and constructed in a way which aids performance and are resistant to odour. Full article here

Seamless garments- technology being advanced by Karl Mayer, Santoni, Shima Seiki and Stoll- full article here


Campaign for wool was launched in 2010, initiated by the Prince of Wales. It is a global cause set up to raise awareness among consumers about the unique, natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits of wool. They encourage collaboration between an international community of wool growers, major fashion designers, retailers, manufacturers, artisans and interior designers. In 2010 they launched wool week and in 2011 they launched Wool Modern- an exhibition showcasing the best in fashion design in wool. 2012 launched Wool House, the world’s biggest celebration of wool featuring 10 days of interior design, fashion and craftsmanship. In 2012 they launched Wool School, an educational innovative where 12 top retailers joined with design students at leading universities to create wool sweaters which were sold in stores with 5% of the profits being put back into educating the next generation of designers about wool.

UK Wool week-08/10/18 will be the 9th year. Events, exhibitions and activities designed to educate, inspire and promote the benefits of wool.


There is a lot of info on this site about new innovations for treating cotton fabrics such as Moisture management, including Trans Dry®- making cotton faster drying and moisture wicking like other synthetic materials and Storm Cotton™ -water repellent technologies. Fabricast™ is a fabric information system about cotton and cotton rich fabrics developed by the product development team each year, where fabrics are developed to inspire companies that utilise cotton. It highlights new and interesting yarns, unique weaving and knitting constructions, dyeing and finishing techniques and fabric performance technologies.

Cotton Incorporated was founded in 1970 with the intention of helping cotton to regain market share which had been lost because of the arrival of synthetic fabrics. Ongoing areas of research include ways of enhancing drought tolerance and resistance to pests and to enable the cotton industry to secure a sustainable future while “developing new innovations in cotton performance technologies that do not create additional environmental burdens” [2]


Invista make chemicals, polymers, resins, fabrics and fibres. They mainly work with nylon and polyesters.

One of the key products made from INVISTA adiponitrile (ADN) is nylon 6,6. As a versatile thermoplastic, nylon 6,6 can be melted and shaped to serve many applications, from heat-resistant auto parts to consumer electronics and kitchen appliances. But nylon 6,6 pellets can also be melted and extruded as continuous fibers. Due to their high strength and flexibility, these fibers can be used for everything from pantyhose to tough automotive air bags and durable sportswear.” [3]

They have developed different technologies such as Coolmax© and Thermolite® which allow for the heat and cold and provide comfort for whatever element you are in. One of their newest technologies is Thermolite® Far Infared

“THERMOLITE® FAR INFRARED technology uses lightweight hollow fibres embedded with permanent ceramic pigments to harness the body’s far infrared* energy to generate gentle warmth. In our independent wear test, feet wearing socks knitted with 50% THERMOLITE® FIR yarn showed as much as 1.5°C increase in temperature than those wearing 100% cotton socks. The fibre structure also provides relief from sweaty feet. Socks dry by transporting moisture to the surface of the fabric where it evaporates three times quicker than cotton. In addition, consumers can say goodbye to thick socks and layering to keep their feet warm. This breakthrough technology enables you to create versatile, everyday socks that are lightweight and offer all-day comfort suitable for any activity.” [4]

Link 19

Lurex® can refer to the yarn or the cloth made with the yarn. The metallic yarns are made from synthetic film onto which a metallic aluminium, silver or gold layer has been vaporised. It was the first metalised polyester yarn and revolutionised how people knit, weave, sew and embroider. It is popular for movie and TV costumes as it has a sparkle. The company has developed a 6-micron film which has given a softness to the yarn whereas before it was quite rough and scratchy. Lurex® was created in 1946.


Pitti Immagine is an Italian company devoted to promoting the fashion industry worldwide. They organise international fairs and promotional events in all areas of fashion. Their goal is to show high quality products and innovative styles and highlight cultural and social relevance and their research content. “For us, innovation means that it is not enough to keep in step with the times, but we have to be ahead of them” [5]

Pitti Immagine Filati, held in Florence in January each year, is an international trade fair for textile fibres. Over 100 exhibitors showcase the latest products and developments in the industry such as; yarn from organically grown raw materials, environmentally friendly production, fair trade promoting sustainable development, and using biodegradable and recycle raw materials to promote an eco-friendly fashion industry.

Some exhibitors include- Knoll yarns-Yorkshire UK, The wool mark company, Stoll, Alda Santini, Fashion Mill, Electrolux and Miss Deanna.

Link 21

Heimtextil is an international trade fair for home and contract textiles. It is the first trade fair of the year and has more than 2,700 exhibitors from all over the world.

Here is a link to the website that has a video of the 2019 show.


Other yarn/textile shows

The British wool show, held in York, UK. The aim is to raise the profile of British wool and products produced by the British textile industry, cottage industries and craft workers. From what I can tell from looking at the exhibitors list it’s not so much about promoting new innovations, more about showcasing the industry.

The Knitting and stitching show is held at Alexandra Palace and is the largest textile event in the UK. They offer over 250 workshops, 300+ exhibitors and 30,000 visitors. They also have a graduate showcase area.

The Yarn Expo was held in Shanghai in March 2018. Promoting current industry trends, sourcing options, innovative synthetic and speciality yarns and eco-friendly products. It offered 430 exhibitors from more than 10 countries.

Texfusion is held in London and in New York and is hailed as “The textile sourcing show for the UK”TEXFUSION  IS THE FIRST TRADE FAIR WITHIN THE UK CATERING EXCLUSIVELY FOR INTERNATIONAL FASHION FABRICS AND ACCESSORIES, FUNCTIONAL FABRICS AND GARMENT MANUFACTURERS. ” [6] It has over 100 companies attending.

What sort of companies present at yarn shows?

From my research there seems to be a huge variety of companies that use these shows to promote their businesses, new technologies, new trends. At the British shows exhibitors include craft companies (mainly independent companies), sewing machine companies, book publishers, Guilds like the Embroidery and spinning and weaving guilds, other craft group organisations, Universities may have graduate areas showcasing their textile/fashion graduates work and of course larger companies selling textiles, yarns, interior design.

Trends and themes

Many shows and fairs will have a Trend room/gallery based on one or several themes for the coming year. Trends could be colour based, environment based or new technologies based, or a mixture of all. For example 2 of the trends from Pitti Immagine June 2018 were – Eco sustainability- an intelligent outlook for the planets future and Jewels steeped in mystery- new opalescent yarns, clouds of precious yarns intent on inciting emotion.

From my research it seems that sustainability, environmental awareness and innovation in yarns and textiles are becoming just as, if not, more important than colour/theme trends, which can only be a good thing. Working towards sustainability and environmentally ethical products is leading the way in discovering new innovations in how we source yarns and grow fibres and how those yarns and textiles are put together and treated.

New innovations for yarns

“Newlife™ is a unique, certifies yarn platform engineered from 100% post-consumer bottles sourced, processed and spun into yarns exclusively made in Italy. Newlife™ process is the first of its kind as it boasts a unique supply chain approach and offers an extensive high calibre portfolio including fashion, sportswear, underwear, technical workwear and furnishing textiles”  [7]

Newlife yarns have a range of innovations including; flame retardant, odor control, easy dye, thermal cotton touch, micro (micro filament yarns), UV resistant, skin sun protection and moisture management. Their website has lots of articles on new innovations including a Russian material with chameleon like properties that can adapt to the colour of the environment making it ‘invisible’.

Pyratex® smart fabric technology combines protein from organic agricultural vegetation with 17 different kinds of amino acids to create an innovative yarn. The company’s technology uses natural fibres such as bamboo and seaweed, these are then transformed into wearable yarns which can provide unique health benefits such as muscle relaxation, improved blood circulation and even skin cell regeneration.

Other innovations for yarns and textiles include ‘Smart Textiles’

 “Smart Textiles are defined as textile products such as fibers and filaments, yarns together with woven, knitted or non-woven structures, which can interact with the environment/user. The convergence of textiles and electronics (e-textiles) can be relevant for the development of smart materials that are capable of accomplishing a wide spectrum of functions, found in rigid and non-flexible electronic products nowadays. “  [8]

I have included some smart textiles on my pinterest board as I was quite interested in some of the things I read, especially the Chameleon fabric. It reminded me of the T-shirts that came out when I was a kid- Global Hypercolour- they changed colour with the heat of your body. I had one and thought it was so cool- until it changed colour under the armpits when you were sweating!

Medical textiles is one of the fastest growing sectors in the technical textile market. Innovations in yarns and fabrics include antimicrobial textiles,  wound healing fabrics, pressure garments,  and implantable devices.

 “Nano-fibre based products as well as nano-coated materials are present innovations in the field of medical textiles.” [9]

I have not been to any yarn/textile shows in years. I attended a quilting show at Sandown Racecourse about 15 years ago and when I was at college I attended Paris fashion week. I would like to attend the knitting and stitching show if possible this year as I feel these events have so much to offer, from the inspiration of looking at other peoples work to seeing new products, demonstrations and workshops, new trends and colours for the next season and of course meeting and networking with people.

(Edited to add-) Overall with this research, I found out a lot of information on new technologies in yarn processes which was very interesting. Although I am unable to apply such processes or innovations to my own work, it is good to know and understand what innovations are out there and how textiles are being used and advanced in fields you might not realise, such as medical areas. Reading about the different trade shows, although interesting, didn’t really lead me to any inspiration for this part of the course. There were a few photos of the shows but nothing close up that showed me new yarns or techniques. I went to the list of traders and clicked on some links there but again nothing that really informed my work for this part of the course.