The things people come up with!

January 13, 2020

by Janet Preus That sustainability is a powerful driver for new innovations in textiles is not altogether surprising for those of us who have been observing the industry for several years. What always surprises me, though, is the innovations themselves. The ways researchers and business innovators accomplish new sustainability advances—the research itself, the prototypes, the …

Really good gets even better

December 16, 2019

by Janet Preus First of all, if you’re not just a little bit amazed that a textile (a textile!) can protect from fire, hazardous chemicals, high heat and other dangers, you are either so immersed in the protective products industry that it’s routine for you, or you’ve never had the opportunity to take note of …

Upping the ante

November 11, 2019

by Janet Preus The trend toward multi-functional capabilities in textiles is pretty well established now. Not all fabrics have to do all things, but the more advanced a textile is, the more likely it is to require more than one functionality. Just to be clear about the terminology. I’m using “functionality” in a broad sense; …

My 11th Expo

October 7, 2019

IFAI Expo 2019 just closed in Orlando last Friday. It was a busy week! Dozens of educational opportunities in advanced textiles markets were dispersed over three days, in additional to a full afternoon as part of the pre-show events. More than 300 exhibitors – many of them with products I would consider part of the …

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

September 9, 2019

by Janet Preus The medical textiles market is expected to reach $23.3 billion by 2025, according to a release May 29, 2019 from reportlinker.com. Non-implantable goods, the report says, takes the largest share, which is not at all surprising for obvious reasons. What’s a bit surprising is the growth in medical devices, including those that …

Imagining a new normal in energy

August 12, 2019

by Janet Preus Every so often I put the “energy” topic on the calendar. I’m fascinated with the idea that textiles of various kinds will be a critical part of new developments, especially for wearables and other small-scale applications, as well as transportable products. Solar energy seemed the most encouraging, with new photovoltaic fabrics and …

No shortcuts

July 15, 2019

by Janet Preus “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” We’ve all heard that saying, and we probably all agree with it, too. But if you’re going to create something that’s never existed before, how do you know that you’re doing it right?  I’m not talking about a new technology, a new material …

The real magic in innovation

June 10, 2019

by Janet Preus Plenty of intriguing ideas may never be researched and developed, much less commercialized, due to a lack of funding or other necessary support. Some of those we should mourn, but others maybe weren’t all that great after all and are better left abandoned. If an innovation can’t be scaled up, if it’s …

It’s what you don’t see

May 6, 2019

by Janet Preus Several years ago I thought it would be a good idea to do an article on research in invisibility technologies, taking the camouflage question beyond the obvious, you might say. I still think it was a good idea, but information and sources were … well, hard to find.  Had I chosen to …

Remember electric socks?

April 8, 2019

I bought myself a pair of “electric socks” decades ago. Living in an outdoors-oriented family in Northern Minnesota, this was a supremely practical purchase. There were wires woven inside the toes and wires outside of the socks that ran all the way up my legs to a battery pack (two D-cells) affixed to my belt. …