Hi Tech Textiles
Hi Tech Textiles are a fairly new product, clothes that are being created and developed using technology. Computer Aided Design (CAD) is being used to help with designing garments and developing them. It enables us to create prototypes and samples without actually using any fabrics or materials, making this method time and cost effective, and also making it a very crucial part of linking design and manufacturing together. CAD works by taking pattern information from a CAD system and immediately being able to position the pattern on the fabric, meaning very little fabric is wasted.
CAD has many advantages:
- Cost and time is decreased in production as less manual labour work will be needed.
- It doesn’t matter where any designing is done as the process isn’t site specific.
- It is easy to store, transmit and transport data.
- It is easy to retrieve digital swatches as they can be saved and organized.
- Alterations such as corrections or editing can be done at anytime with no delays or extra cost.
Without having to make them, garments and fabrics can be sampled.
A few companies are already said to be producing garments through this process:
- Sports brand Nike is soon to be launching Legend leggings with ‘power mesh’ waistbands, made from recycled polyester.
- Adidas are developing their ‘body mapping technology’ which looks at how men and women sweat and move in different ways and then uses ClimaCool fabric to keep optimum body temperature.
- Reebok has launched its new EasyTone range which includes built-in resistance bands which claim to encourage optimum muscle movement.
A recent study has confirmed that there is a need for more high-end production sample units and innovation facilities as designers have reported a shortage of high quality sampling capacity in the UK. The Centre of Fashion Enterprise (CFE) aims to create a designer innovation and sampling centre (DISC) that produces high-end prototype samples in the fabrics that the study identified as problematic such as silks, fine fashion jerseys and sheers. It accents the need to develop local, regional and global manufacturing skills knowledge.
The study also highlighted a large quantity of issues facing the high-end sector at the moment. In the context of sampling services, the study reports that the UK manufacturers are offering a much narrower range of services than those overseas. Most designers find it difficult to get sampling done in the UK, so there is a definite need for cost-effective, sampling services in this country. Relating to manufacturing, the study says that the gaps in workforce could be a big problem for UK manufacturers. Designers made a complaint saying that they did not know where or how to source appropriate manufacturing in the UK, Europe or globally, at the quality required for the market.
Fortunately for designers, there is already an increase of sampling units in the UK. Fashion Capital owns a sampling warehouse, The Fashion Studio, in North London. The facility produces 2000 garments a week, and supports production for clients such as Asos.com, House of Fraser and John Lewis, plus a small number of designers such as Christopher Waller and Tobi Hannah. The Studio’s services consist of pattern making, toiling, first fit sampling, first seal and gold seal samples ready for mass production. The team behind Fashion Enter’s production facilities includes some of the most experienced machinists and pattern cutters in the UK.