Wellness and wellbeing are aspects that are always more pursued by the consumer today. If on the one side frenzy days and stressful activities are increasingly weighing on everyone’s shoulders and, on the other side the consumer is always more educated and competent, the market understands it has to offer extra comfort in terms of new cool products that help everyone feel better. For this, after the boom of comfy stretch indigo pieces made with special woven denims, a new health-minded holistic approach to life and fashion seem to be the next evolution. By Maria Cristina Pavarini

The wellness revolution
The trend was already in the air as recently explained by sociologist Giulia Ceriani, president of Baba, within the launch of Nebula, a new street-minded ergonomic design of the highly breathable men’s shoe model by Geox soon also available for women from s/s 2016.

“Wellness is the next big event,” commented Ceriani while presenting her study “Wellbeing and Wellfeeling”. This aspect had been predicted by Paul Pilzer in his book “The Wellness revolution”, launched five years ago and predicting that wellness might have become a USD200 billion worth industry after an overall market and society shift might have happened - from health to beauty to food and medicine. And his expectations are becoming true, at least in terms of newly widespread lifestyle approaches. It is enough if we consider the boom of smart devices for tracking one's physical daily activities, the increasing importance of functional materials at all levels of the fashion market offer and the overall hype of healthy lifestyles and physical activities.

According to Ceriani, for the next years, most different consumer targets and wellbeing followers will distinguish themselves always more. Some of them will try to find new ways of living focusing on autarchy, finding escape in natural landscapes and eco-living accommodations. Others will be searching for urban comfort, cool and functional at the same time. And according to the study products like, for instance, the Nebula shoe adapt themselves well to such type of new consumer attraction for fitness activities, but also urban walking and daily travelling activities.

Smart fashion for fit consumers
Griffin SS15 Lookbook
Griffin SS15 Lookbook
Other important examples of research for smart wellness-minded products is represented by what the apparel and textile industry is trying to do in a more systematic way than in the past. Sapopa, for instance, is a newborn Italian brand debuting at the upcoming edition of White Milano, made with highly functional materials, though built according to tailoring garment construction techniques. This way they can be worn in any situation - also when playing sports - while guaranteeing a smart appearance.

Achieving smart textiles
During its last September 2015 edition the international textile fair Premiere Vision (PV) presented its new Smart Creation project, a program of activities aimed at creating a platform, a study tool and a way to communicate the textile industry progress in the fields of responsible creation and production. “What is beautiful it is not necessarily making you feel well, but quality does,” commented Giusy Bettoni, consultant for PV and owner of the C.L.A.S.S. studio focused on a research of promoting sustainable textiles. “For this a true smart textile needs to be produced according to true quality standards that can be trackable for the consumer.” As part of this program in July 2015, they had sent out a questionnaire to all of their exhibitors requesting information on some “Smart Facts” about each company’s productive process and their eventual impact on the environment. After two weeks already 150 companies had replied showing how hot the topic was for them. Final results of this survey will be presented for the February 2016 edition of PV together with more initiatives aimed at supporting the cause of smart and sustainable textiles.

Wellness focused research
Many other examples of responsible products are now appearing on the market. Marchi&Fildi, a Biella top quality yarn manufacturer, has just launched Ecotec, a selection of cotton yarns obtained by transforming pre-consumer cotton fabric leftovers that can contain up to a maximum of 70% of the old cotton fibers which are more sustainable than new cotton because they don’t need water, nor dyeing substances.
Okinawa, Italian studio expert in most fields including eco-friendly packaging and labelling, has launched a new vegetal dyeing technique for leather that recreates the same effect of faded indigo blue as on denim. Further, this process is completely Oeko-Tex certified, washable, metal- and chrome-free. This development is another example of how the industry is starting to care about smart textiles that look great but also make wearers feel good. This is the future everyone is hoping for.

Fabrics made with Ecotec yarns of manufacturer Marchi&Fildi
Fabrics made with Ecotec yarns of manufacturer Marchi&Fildi