Last week, Performance Days, the trade fair for functional materials, came to an end at the Munich Exhibition Centre. Its overall conclusion? Without a certificate or proof of sustainable production, nothing can be done in the sports and outdoor market.
For two days, the international sports and outdoor clothing industry met at the Performance Days to kickoff the autumn/winter 2021-22 season. Once again, one topic was at the top of the agenda: sustainability. Technical innovations for fabrics are part of the DNA of the sports industry, perhaps that's the reason why this industry is so keen on sustainable development. This was in line with the intention of the fair itself, which for the first time presented only sustainable materials in the Performance Forum curated by the fair. "We see it as our task and opportunity to seriously promote sustainable developments in the industry," said marketing director Lena Weimer. By organizing the Forum, the trade fair aims to steer the industry in the right direction and inspire innovation. "We don't see our decision as a hurdle for our exhibitors, but as motivation, and above all we have the leverage to make a difference in the entire value chain," Weimer continued.
One of the highlights of the fair was Isko Arquas, the denim manufacturer's functional offshoot. Arquas presented an innovative, highly elastic fabric that has excellent elastic recovery qualities and uses laser technology to create completely new optics such as serrated edges or hole patterns. "The material is as elastic as knit, but much more robust and does not wear out," said Mirela Slowik, marketing and business development manager, Isko. Windproofing is achieved by the construction alone; no finish is required. Even international football clubs are already interested in the material, said Slowik: "The market is looking for an alternative to knitwear, where the maximum has been achieved.“ Isko is also sustainable: The fibers are made of GRS certified, recycled post-consumer polyester and the manufacturing process has also been sustainably optimized.
Fiber specialist Primaloft also had new products in its luggage. For example, the company was able to reduce CO2 emissions by half in the manufacture of insulation padding by completely eliminating the need to heat the fibers during production. This technology is used for the Primaloft Gold series and will be extended to other product groups in the coming years. The Japanese fabric manufacturer Toyoshima presented "Food Textile,” a pastel cotton series dyed with colors from food waste. In Japan, Converse was one of the first cooperation partners to have Chucks dyed with coffee color. In addition to plant dyes, the further development of the spin-dye and dope-dye processes also played a role. Here the dyeing is already integrated into the spinning process of the synthetic fibers, which saves an enormous amount of water and generally makes dyeing superfluous. Zippers in the spin-dye process were also presented.
The Japanese fiber specialist Teijin won the Performance Award for a three-layer material made of recycled polyester that can also be recycled. Not only the outer fabric and backing are made of polyester, but also the membrane. The Eco Performance Award went to the Schoeller Spinning Group for an Alpaca/Merino fabric that has neither been dyed nor chemically treated and is completely chemical-free.