Fast forward to a smart future in fashion and home interior

03 May 2017
Time is moving, and it is moving fast. Inventions that were unthinkable a few decades ago are now part of our every day life. We are constantly connected with each other and with the world around us. If something happens on the other side of the world, it takes a split-second to reach us here. Time and technology are also moving fast in the world of textiles. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of future fabrics in fashion and home interior.

There was a time when clothes were just that: clothes. Well, not anymore! Meet the wearables: smart technology integrated into our wardrobe. Connected to Bluetooth and embedded with sensors, these clothes connect us to our smart devices and help us to achieve personal goals such as losing weight, staying fit or keeping organized. Back in 2006 Nike and Apple already joined forces on the Nike+ line that connected footwear and iPod, updating runners during their trainings on speed, distance and calories burned. Even though the cooperation has since ended, many have stepped in and the revolution of smart textiles -or E-textiles- is unstoppable. 

High fashion meets high tech
Starting in sports, technologically enhanced apparel is now making its crossover into fashion. High street fashion meets high tech! For instance in Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech Shirt. The silver fibers that are woven in the shirt measure the heart-rate and breathing depth and balance, and stream the acquired data to the device of the wearer. This way the wearer gets all the information necessary to achieve their personal goals. Last year, Levi’s® teamed up with Google to create the Levi’s® CommuterTM Trucker Jacket with Google ATAP’s Project Jacquard woven in. Users just have to touch their sleeve to navigate the screen: adjust music volume, skip to another song, get info on time of arrival or simply answer a call. And just last April, the first Kickstarter campaign for a smart bra that can help identify what triggers stressful moments, so wearers can make adjustments in their daily routine in order to live in a more relaxed way. 

Taking baby on a virtual drive to dreamland  
E-textiles are not only gaining traction within the world of wearable fashion; the world of interior design is also getting more and more accustomed to the advantages of smart textiles. Many furniture designers, even home furnishing giant IKEA, already carry numerous furniture items that allow consumers to wirelessly recharge devices on the spot. Just place the smart phone or tablet at the marked spot on the sofa and energy flows directly from couch to battery. Ford takes things a step further with their Max Motor Dreams. A cot made for babies that only go soundly asleep when being driven around in the family car. The smart crib simulates a drive using sound and motion while LD-lighting imitates the streetlights. Even though Max Motor Dreams is still in prototype phase, it is a smart sign of the times that lie in the not so far ahead future. 

3D printing: advantages for all
Out of the prototype phase, but still revolutionary is the 3D technique that has entered both the world of fashion and interior design. Within fashion many designers are starting to experiment with the many possibilities 3D printing offers. However, currently the technology is most noticeable in shoe fashion. Here, the technology allows customers to buy custom-made shoes that fit to a ‘T’, thanks to the intricate yet fast 3D-scan process. Adidas recently unveiled their latest 3D-printed running shoe. Suited for mass-production and allowing performance-enhancing design modifications the ‘Futurecraft 4D’ combines the best of both world, while also keeping a keen eye on sustainability as waste, transport, storage and packaging are reduced to a minimum.

As 3D printing offers nearly unlimited design-freedom, it is no surprise interior designers are also embracing the technology. Not only does 3D printing allow designers to create more flexible, contemporary and custom-made items, once established as a common production-method, it can also have a huge effect on minimalizing plastic waste. Thanks to 3D printing, used plastics can reincarnate into gorgeous furniture items. Bringing a future where oceans and seas are free of plastic waste. 

Stahl’s solutions towards a creative, sustainable future
As Stahl, we look at these new developments with great interest. New technologies spark new ways of using products, materials and surfaces. With the growing demand for smart textiles that are sustainable, the technology used to process, finish and protect these materials needs to comply with these same demands. Stahl is always on a mission to create the best solutions available for our partners within a broad range of industries like fashion and interior design. Solutions that are just as progressive as these industries and their innovative designs. Solutions like Stay Clean that protects the pale colored vinyl or synthetic surfaces of furniture and wearables against common stains such as dye from jeans, dirt and spilled liquids. Our innovative water-repellent fatliquor Dermaphob® WA-71 provides leather shoe uppers a high level of dynamic water-resistance, giving them a deep softening and maintaining the breathability and excellent buffing in suede. Or our wide ranges of water-based technologies to protect and finish a multitude of smart fabrics and materials such as synthetics, wood, PVC, metal and other materials. With these smart solutions, Stahl hands you the tools to open up a creative, sustainable future where Stahl helps you to protect your innovative materials. With our technology and innovation and your creative and smart textiles, endless possibilities are within our reach. 
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