Catarina Canto Moniz

The need for performance fabrics is increasing and they have become a huge trend for 2020. But how smart are smart fabrics?

Nowadays, is not possible for brands to exist without a purpose. There is no room for companies that exist only to make a profit, they must understand their role in society and their responsibility towards us all.

In today’s consumer-driven market, companies are asked to innovate and quality on its own is no longer enough to reason a great choice of a product. Knowledgeable consumers are demanding extra technical characteristics that extend the scope of the primary application of products.

Smart Fabrics are fabrics that provide added benefits, such as odor-reducing, body temperature cooling, that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory or skin-soothing properties, etc.

In fact, performance fabrics have been used for many years now in military and firefighters’ clothing. For obvious reasons, these two segments need clothing that functions as a shield and protects the body of the wearer.

performancce fabrics

Weather we’re talking about clothing, furniture textiles or bedding, all of them are expected to perform beyond their primary job.

Nonetheless, in the home textiles sector, you won’t find much offer yet if you’re looking for performance fabrics. However, if we are supposedly spending 1/3 of our lives laying in them, shouldn’t they be under our meticulous assessing eye?

performance fabrics

We believe so. In the performance fabric realm, the technology Marialma’s weaves into its fabrics bring the consumer functional materials that benefit skin health. Conditions like atopic skin, eczema, allergies, and skin inflammation can greatly benefit from these smart fabrics’ characteristics.

Types of Performance Fabrics

performance fabrics

There are two types of performance fabrics: coated and engineered fabrics.

Coated fabrics are made by applying a coating to an ordinary fabric in the finishing phase of the production process. Engineered fabrics are the “true performance fabrics” because they are engineered to meet a specific requirement such as antibacterial, for instance. The entire production process since the spinning of the yarn is thought to add a specific benefit.

Coated fabrics are more inexpensive than the engineered ones but they all are performance fabrics.

What should we look for in performance fabrics?

performance fabrics

When looking for performance fabrics, one should always choose the one with the functionality embedded into the fiber (the engineered one), rather than the more inexpensive coated version.

Still, on the garments subject, we see many clothing brands advertising performance fabrics. Athletes of today no longer search for just comfortable attractive clothes. They search for clothing that can enhance their athletic performance. Besides comfort, they require stretchability, temperature adaptability and moisture management for protection of the skin. The medical sector, on the other hand, asks for antimicrobial and biodegradable materials and, depending on its purpose, water-resistance or super absorbency are prime requisites.

Smart Performance Fabrics: The Future is Here

In the clothing sector, we can already see fabrics that are way ahead of daily common needs. There are now three categories of performance fabrics:

  1. Passive Smart Fabrics – the first generation of smart textiles can control environmental or body conditions.
  2. Active Smart Fabrics – the second generation can detect (sense) and act accordingly, these are thermo-regulators, water-repellent, etc.
  3. Very Active Fabrics – the third generation can not only sense and react, but they can also adapt themselves through devices woven into the fabric and connected to smartphones, for example.

The way our performance fabrics work is actually quite simple, they operate directly on the skin. A simple reaction is triggered when the skin gives off moisture-producing an active exchange between the fibers and the skin. As our medical advisor, Alexandra Matias says we are not only what we eat, but also “what we wear”.

We hope you have enjoyed our article about the trend in home textiles front: smart fabrics. Feel free to pin all the images to your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to our newsletter, so you can be the first to know about our latest articles. And don’t forget: sleep well, live well!

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