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Fabric Direction for Athlete & Sportswear

Fabric Direction for Athlete & Sportswear

Fresh Mesh Digital tie-dye printed effects, 3D structural raised surface features, space-dyed yarns, and multi-sized mesh hole constructions are just some of the ways mesh is being rejuvenated to become as aesthetically interesting as it is functionally astute.

Plush As it is a winter season we expect warmth and insulation to be a big feature and the manufacturers do not disappoint – from shaved, high pile, sweater-effect patterns to the most luxurious, real fur touch created purely from polyester, shaggy Sherpa effects, and beautiful woolly aspects. It’s all warm, functional and tactile.

Melange+ Whether staple grey heather hues are enriched by a technical surface, placed to highlight contrast structural diversity, integrated within mini-diamond repeat patterns, or propelled from grey to color and over-printed with stripes, melange takes on an elevated identity that is refreshing, functional and commercial.

Athleisure Lux Cashmere, silk, merino wool, kapok, and Tencel are all key ingredients, not just for their natural properties of warmth and comfort, but for their added luxurious touch. And as the athleisure revolution demands garments that deliver not purely for activity, but also getting on with life comfortably, luxurious blends and softly brushed surfaces are key.

Micro Structures Structural interest is focussed on micro-sized geometric designs in both knits and wovens, where dense structures provide strength and elevated abrasion resistance and 3D-surfaced base layers lift fabric away from the skin to assist breathability. Functionality and tactility are as important as optics.

Back–to–Front There is a real move forward in terms of interest on the backside of cloth in the 3-layer and mid layer categories. Ultra lightweight woven backings offer a different feel to a typical jersey backing, but we also see graphically printed backs, surprising surface contrasts, and geometric structural interest.

Block-Work From pixel-art jacquard and knit designs and all-over prints, to pop-color blocks and multi-textural checkerboards, it’s cool to be square this season! We also saw neoprene embossed with gridded square motifs, laser-cut micro checks and micro-checkerboard closed mesh.

Geo Diversity Most notably seen in high density, ultra-lightweight articles, geometric prints design motifs make a mark this season. Foil laminations and embossing are used to reveal intricate and precise artworks as well as blocky, random, angular shapes. But we also love how this mid-layer polar fleece has been heat-pressed to resemble the treads on a tire.

Denim Styles and Design Looks Interestingly, as we see more and more denim weavers looking to integrate performance and technology into denim, we also see technical fabric manufacturers striving to create true, 3/1 twill and indigo-dyed denim look in their collections. How long will it take for them to meet in the middle?

Camouflage Prints Effects Jacquards, burn-outs, warp-knitting and embossing are just some of the ways camo displayed itself this season. Always a pattern that appeals to the urban market, what is most interesting here is how, through burn-outs and knit structural difference, it can be used to reveal and conceal.

Deceptive Surfaces It’s almost impossible to detect without touching, but the two fabrics above are printed, lightweight PA shells. Any fabric structure and pattern can be equally effectively applied. Below, we see reflective looks appearing in graphically interesting ways: whether it is a traditional silver print or a colored reflective yarn, who says safety after-dark is about function over style?

Tech Quilts Classic diamond quilt formations feel a little dated in the company of these tech quilts. Think 3D embossed lightweights, thermo-sensitive heavyweights, blocked formations and small-scale geometric shapes. Plus, we must mention a quilt solution offered by Komatsu – a double-layer lightweight shell with pre-fabricated horizontal channels ready to be down-filled, so no sewing or welding necessary.

Nurturing Nature Sustainable sourcing, processing and production methods are a key focus, so here we spotlight a variety of this season’s developments: Schoeller offers locally sourced wool insulation; Jersey Lomellina and Weichard Eco recycle and regenerate fibers, and Flocus displays kapok integrated to its full potential.

Nurturing Us Hybrid constructions (where fabric structures compress or ventilate according to need) and fiber distribution (considered for functionality and comfort) within one fabric are a key development direction. It may only be the beginning, but we see the future potential as great.

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