Read the hangtags

January 9, 2019

My job is impacting my personal life in a somewhat unusual way: I chronically read hangtags on textile products. Clothing, housewares and especially outdoor gear get a close look. Are these flannel lounge pants 100 percent cotton? They better be. … Just how water resistant is this water-resistant jacket? … This shirt is UV resistant, …

Today’s tree huggers

December 10, 2018

There was a time when terms such as “ecology,” “sustainability,” “environmentalist” and “eco-friendly” belonged to a group (perceived to be small) of “tree-huggers” with ideas that many thought were radical, unnecessary or even just silly. However, I don’t think this was ever a small group. There were millions, at the time, who wouldn’t have used …

What I think about Expo this year – and every year

November 12, 2018

Every Expo is different. But I’ve attended nine of them now, and every year I see something new, meet someone I didn’t know previously, get a better understanding of new technology and products, make crucial connections for future articles in Advanced Textiles Source—and have a good time. I get to know my writers as people, …

Define “natural”

October 8, 2018

The ability of the industry to engineer fabrics for specific purposes has been growing, and has been well documented on this site, I might add. In fact, fabrics can be engineered to do just about anything the end application needs. However, there are tradeoffs, and some of them involve sustainability concerns.That’s where bio-based fibers enter …

How can a textile be protective?

September 10, 2018

For the uninitiated, the idea that fabric can be “protective” may seem like an oxymoron. We know, however, that protective textiles of many kinds play crucial roles in a range of applications. But that’s hardly news to you. What may be news is the growth of the safety and protective textiles market: strong, steady and …

The right word

August 20, 2018

As a writer it’s irksome to run out of words to say what you want to say. I don’t run out of words, generally, but sometimes I can’t find just the right word to say exactly what I mean. In the English language, you would think that would never happen, but I use a handful …

The case for R and D investment

August 6, 2018

The following is a letter to the editor of Specialty Fabrics Review by Donald L. Sturgeon, Ph.D., president of Multifibers LLC. It is in response to an article I wrote for the Review about IFAI’s Smart Fabrics Conference in April 2018. I found Mr. Sturgeon’s letter particularly interesting – and timely – because I had just …

Ubiquitous, for good reason

July 9, 2018

I’m going to guess that you use some kind of textile composite every single day—maybe many times a day. (Here’s a hint: if you’re caring for a baby or small child, it’s even more likely.) We are dependent upon textiles being a part of the material makeup of flexible composites (obviously) and rigid composites (not …

Sharing the future with robotics

June 11, 2018

“Robot.” What comes to mind? An R2-D2-type character? Something encased in metal that traverses the terrain in a clearly non-human way? Maybe you picture a sci-fi movie depicting an AI character so smart that it overthrows the human characters in a dramatic coup. Time to rethink that picture in your head and replace it with a …

Measuring success

May 7, 2018

The Smart Fabrics Summit April 24 in Washington, D.C., was a highly successful event in my opinion, and I’m not just saying that because IFAI was one of the sponsors. I came home grateful that I had had the opportunity to be there. Of course, my ultimate agenda—information I can turn into news—is different from …