Weighing sustainability

February 1, 2018

Trends reflect a global interest in natural fibers and ethical practices. The smart and advanced textile industries, while broadly in agreement on the need to be more sustainable, are in less accord when deciding how to address the issue. Cultural and local differences can on one level exacerbate the difficulty in reaching a consensus, but …

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Acquisitions reshape the U.S. tent and event rental industry

A wave of acquisitions reshaped the U.S. tent and event rental industry in 2017 Beginning in 2016 and accelerating the pace in spring and summer of 2017, several recapitalized tent rental companies acquired other like-businesses. The break-up of the Classic Party Rentals network, based in Inglewood, Calif., fueled much of the activity. A trend toward …

New substrates for smart fabrics

January 1, 2018

Manufacturers of smart fabrics are looking for new, novel textile substrates. A key takeaway from the Smart Fabrics Program and E-Textiles Workshop at the 2017 IFAI Expo was the symbiotic relationship between smart technologies and the development of suitable textile substrates to facilitate the desired function. While the fashion apparel business has become increasingly commodity-driven, …

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Geofoam solves construction challenges

High atop Hidden Peak, lightweight geofoam solves construction challenges the easy way. All projects have challenges, purpose and meaning, yet some projects mean a lot more to owners than others. It takes a visionary to leave a legacy, and Richard Bass, founder of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah, fit the bill. Bass is …

Training and education for the high-tech textile industry

December 1, 2017

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index (GMCI) report, the United States looks set to overtake China as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation within five years. The textile industry is a significant part of that repositioning in its moves to bring manufacturing back to North America. It is not enough, however, to bring …

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Fabric installation at Renwick Gallery plays with perceptions

Since the 17th century (with the debut of the French École des Beaux-Arts), drawing has been the first basic skill taught to architects. This still holds true, despite the advent of computer aided drafting (CAD) and sophisticated rendering software. And today there is a segment of the architecture community rediscovering and embracing the messy hand-drawn …

A new NAFTA?

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to improve U.S. trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since taking office and subsequently threatening to withdraw the United States from NAFTA unless the terms were renegotiated, Mexico and Canada have been cajoled to revisit the deal. The first round of tripartite talks commenced …

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Fighting pink stain

November 1, 2017

The work “pink” brings to mind a little girl dressed as a princess, cotton candy at the county fair and plastic lawn flamingos. But for those in the marine industry, the word takes on a sinister connotation as a stain caused by streptoverticillium reticulum. It’s a far greater menace than a never-washed red garment laundered …

Fabrics go multifunctional

October 31, 2017

Textiles have evolved from being commodity materials to providing an array of benefits, including additional comfort and protection, improved hygiene and support for health care. The innate nature of fibers can provide certain special characteristics—cotton adds breathability and a smooth hand, and wool offers thermal comfort, for example. But due to the growing need for …

Eco-friendly antimicrobials and sustainable solutions

October 1, 2017

Antimicrobial properties are fast becoming a required treatment in textiles for applications that range from hospital drapes and linen to contract and domestic textiles as well as clothing. While offering protection from germs is a positive factor, there has been some disquiet concerning the environmental impact of antimicrobial treatments. In response, fiber and fabric manufacturers …