Monthly Archives: April 2008

Next Century Textiles

21st Century Fashion 04-16-08

Sneaker goliath Nike released Sphere, a new fabric that keeps the wearer cool. How? Dimples across the surface of the fabric act as pockets for the air. The trapped air surrounds the skin and lowers the body temperature by a few degrees.

CuteCircuit, a wearable technology company, developed the Hug Shirt. It is a form fitting shirt that contains sensor pads, activated through external pressure and temperature. The sensor pads send the strength of the hug to your phone through Bluetooth, which then sends the hug to your respected other wearing the Hug Shirt. The US military sees value in the Hug Shirt because it allows soldiers to exchange hugs with their loved ones at home from far away.

Also interesting are color-changing fabrics made possible through flexible electro-chromic polymers. They are already becoming popular with performance companies and the US military.  I believe the options for the colorful fabric technology will increase with the invention of better wearable and washable batteries.

There are endless possibilities for the future of apparel because of innovative textile technology. Our designers are hard at work ensuring the best of the concepts become great products. NATALIA


The Politics of Innovation


In our ever-evolving virtual world there are few borders. Technology and innovation learned in the first year of college, become obsolete after graduation. “Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age,” says Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is the youngest presidential candidate and is greatly aware of the value of creativity, technology and innovation. He uses websites such as Facebook and Myspace to capture and liase with supporting citizens. His campaign has broken records (40 million in a month) by raising funds through small online donations.

“We know that innovation tools like broadband are essential to the economy of the 21st century. We should not be satisfied with our standings slipping year by year. We are the birthplace of the Internet, but our broadband infrastructure is stuck in adolescence,” says Hilary Clinton.

Presidential candidates Obama, Clinton and McCain agree on the value of innovation for the United States. Each candidate has presented a policy to:
Restore government’s commitment to science research and space
Allow full exchanges of information through the Open Internet
Invest in new ideas to provide solutions such as
o    Eco-Friendly alternatives
o    Lowering Health Care Costs
o    Providing New Jobs

That said, which leader do you think will take us successfully into the twenty-first century? I have my vote. NATALIA ALLEN

Iconique Societas Awards

Launched in 2007 by Joost van Gorsel, publisher of and Melissa Sterry, CEO of Societás – the ‘Iconique Societás Excellence in Fashion Awards’ bring the global spotlight to the best emerging and most influential talent working in the genres of fashion photography and fashion illustration.

The awards jury for 2008 has just been announced and includes acclaimed Dutch photographer Ari Versluis, maverick fashion designer Arkadius, Brit milliner Louis Mariette – dubbed one of the 250 most influential creatives in the world by I-D Magazine, award-winning New York designer NATALIA ALLEN, owner of the UK’s much acclaimed ‘The Illustration Gallery’ – Oliver Jelf, McCann Group’s Head of Innovation Justin Champney, Vice President of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada – Rod Roodenburg, top stylist and regular contributer to Italian Vogue Michael Dye, as well as awards founders Joost and Melissa.

Last year’s awards gained global coverage and entries from fashion creatives in the UK, EU, US, Asia and beyond. Iconique and Societás plan to extend the award categories yet further in 2009 – to embrace the full spectrum of the fashion visual arts.

Entry details for the 2008 awards will be announced soon, so watch this space and and for more information.

Organic, Eco and Affordable

Organic, Eco and Affordable

Increasingly, mass-market fashion designers are creating eco-friendly products. The rising demand for GREEN has encouraged brands such as: Levi Strauss, Quiksilver and The Gap to provide organically grown and eco-friendly products at a competitive price point.

GREEN garments are being made from exotic materials such as: corn, wood pulp, recycled plastic, byproducts of soybean oil, seaweed, organically grown bamboo and cotton.

Sportswear brand, Patagonia produced the popular “Synchilla Marsupial”, a polyester fleece made from 85% recycled soda bottles and unusable second-quality fabrics.

Wellman Inc, a U.S. company, produces these fibers from recycled products (FRPG) and packaging products (PPG). Their efforts keep 3 billion plastic (PET – polyethylene terephthalate) bottles out of landfills each year (bottled water will become a trend of the past).

Kate O’Connor, a designer known for her fluid lines enjoys the soft hand of silk and other luxurious fabrics. She found a less expensive alternative to silk in bamboo.Bamboo fiber is completely biodegradable and is the fastest growing wood plant farmed. Bamboo fabrics absorb moisture well and help keep you cool. Bamboo is also anti-bacterial, making it useful for producing next-to-skin garments. With all its benefits bamboo is controversial because many bamboo fabrics do not last as long as cotton fabrics.

The fashion and textile industries are in the early stages of exploring and innovating GREEN materials, that said, the future is a go. NATALIA