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Textile Innovation

Author: World Textile Information Network

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Join the World Textile Information Network (WTiN) team and a brand new special guest from the textile & apparel industry every single month. Tune in to hear the latest innovations as well as unmatched intelligence and insight on a global scale. From key manufacturing and textile technology hubs in Asia, the Americas, Europe and more, we chat to key opinion leaders, CEOs and start-ups — covering innovation across the entire textile & apparel value chain. To discuss any of our topics, get in touch by following @wtincomment and @rubyatwtin on Twitter or email rpenson@wtin.com. To explore sponsorship opportunities, please email sales@wtin.com. Stay in the know with daily updates from WTiN when you sign up to the site. You can find breaking stories, exclusive features and one-on-one interviews, long-form analysis, patents and event information all in one place. Intro music is a royalty free track from Music Unlimited on Pixabay.
91 Episodes
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Ep. 84: NTX Cooltrans

Ep. 84: NTX Cooltrans

2022-05-0640:10

In this episode of The WTiN Podcast, we talk to Jeffrey Hsu, chief innovation and marketing officer, and Peter Decorte, chief operations officer, at NTX. NTX is a textile innovation and solution company that has developed a hybrid textile colouration system called NTX Cooltrans. Indeed, the pair say it is a mix of digital printing, sublimation and wet dye techniques – something they claim is completely new and unique. In this podcast, Hsu and Decorte explain how the NTX Cooltrans technology came about, how the different machines have evolved, and what the environmental benefits are of adopting the system. They also talk about production benefits regarding the ability to print on both sides of the fabric and how the fewer process steps results in an end product that retains its strength and quality. Lastly, the pair explain the company’s plan to roll out the technology through joint ventures and how companies can get their hands on NTX Cooltrans.To find out more about the company, visit www.ntx.global 
In this episode of The WTiN Podcast, we talk to Yoel Fink, Professor of Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  MIT is well-known for its research concerning textiles & apparel, and most recently Fink and his team have developed a ‘fabric that hears’. The fabric works like a microphone, converting sound into mechanical vibrations, then into electrical signals, similarly to how our ears hear.In this podcast, Fink talks about the inspiration for the research and how the aim is to start ‘capturing the soundtrack of our lives’. He talks about how the team have made the fibre and resulting fabric, how it’s cost-effective to produce and the cool applications that range from monitoring unborn babies to detecting space dust. Elsewhere, he speaks of the ‘tremendous opportunities with fabrics’ and highlights a new course at MIT that combines computing with textiles called Computing Fabrics. 
Ep. 82: LifeLabs

Ep. 82: LifeLabs

2022-03-1138:08

In this episode of The WTiN Podcast, we talk to Scott Mellin, CEO of LifeLabs. LifeLabs is a materials science company founded by Professor Yi Cui, director of Stanford University’s advanced materials laboratory, and Meng Sui, a chemist and CEO of clean-energy foundry EEnotech. The company has developed textile technologies to reduce energy consumption with the aim to shift the way that we think about fabric and its environmental impact.In this podcast, Mellin talks about the company’s two thermoregulating technologies – WarmLife and CoolLife – which he describes as a democratic solution to climate change. In fact, Mellin says that wearing these products 365 days per year can help one person to save 1,000 lbs of carbon in that time. Elsewhere, he talks about LifeLabs’s holistic approach to sustainability, his opinion on the Higg MSI and how the company’s technology could be applied to automotive, upholstery and sportswear in future. 
In this episode of The WTiN Podcast, Jessica Owen interviews Britt Howard, founder of the Portland Garment Factory. Founded in 2008 and based in Oregon, US, the Portland Garment Factory is a full-service manufacturing company that can prototype, design, pattern grade, source fabrics and much more. In this episode, Howard discusses why she founded the company and more about the services she and the team offer. Elsewhere, Howard talks about working with clients ranging from small designers to global brands such as Nike, as well as the company’s zero waste manufacturing approach and the appeal of being made in the US. To find out more about the Portland Garment Factory, visit www.portlandgarmentfactory.com 
To kick off 2022, Victoria Nickerson interviews Milon Hossein, a graduate research assistant at North Carolina State University (NC State) in the US. 
Ep. 79: Genomatica

Ep. 79: Genomatica

2021-12-1734:06

The last guest on this year’s The WTiN Podcast is Lisa Kennedy, vice president of strategic partnerships at Genomatica. Founded in 2000 and based in San Diego (US), Genomatica develops commercial bio-based products and processes. Having started in the plastics and cosmetics industries, the company has since turned its attention to finding sustainable alternatives to nylon.  In this podcast, Kennedy talks about the company’s innovations aimed at the textile & apparel industry such as its bio-nylon and alternative for thermoplastic polyurethan (TPU). Elsewhere, she mentions the challenges associated with developing new chemistries, talks about Genomatica’s collaborations with brands including Lululemon and hints at the next solution on the horizon. To find out more about Genomatica, visit www.genomatica.com 
Ep. 78: W L Gore

Ep. 78: W L Gore

2021-11-1932:40

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is David Dillon, smart apparel business lead at W L Gore. Founded more than 60 years ago by Bill and Vieve Gore, the company makes everything from consumer products to medical components to fibres and vents. Its most well-known product is arguably Gore-Tex – a waterproof and breathable membrane added to outdoor clothing – and recently it has expanded into wearables. In this podcast, Dillon talks about the company’s recent involvement with smart workwear and how it can prevent workplace injuries. Such injuries and illnesses cost companies and insurers an estimated US$250bn annually in direct and indirect costs (according to data from the Economic Policy Institute and an analysis by Accenture) and W L Gore has created a shirt that can monitor motion and analyse if the worker is at risk of injury. Elsewhere, Dillon talks about the challenges with smart apparel such as the lack of standards and washability and how data collection and digitising workwear is the future. To find out more about W L Gore, visit www.gore.com 
Ep. 77: Bucha Bio

Ep. 77: Bucha Bio

2021-10-0838:40

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Zimri Hinshaw, CEO of Bucha Bio. Based in New York City (US), Bucha Bio is a biotechnology company that creates materials using bacterial nanocellulose. The company was founded in 2019 and the team plans to use this material to replace animal and plastic leather. In this podcast, Hinshaw talks about how long it takes to create the company’s biomaterial, how it was inspired by kombucha and how it has the potential to meet or exceed animal leather production. Hinshaw also describes the material’s properties and he provides his thoughts on biodegradability and what the industry might look like in 10 years. Elsewhere, he says the company is working with extruding businesses to optimise the material and plans to open a pilot production facility by next year. To find out more about Bucha Bio, visit www.bucha.bio  
This week’s guests on The WTiN Podcast are sales and marketing director Neil Green and technical director Paul Geldenhuys from NUtec Digital Ink. Based in South Africa, the company began its journey in 1995, when it was an early ink manufacturer for airbrush printers used for commercial printing. The company’s name and focus has since changed a couple of times after being acquired by Scitex Vision in 2001 and Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2005. Eventually, the original founders of the company created NUtec Digital Ink which now develops and manufactures digital printing inks for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and distributors for the global market.  In this podcast, Green and Geldenhuys talk about the company’s interesting history, the different inks it offers and the benefits and limitations to each. They discuss the company’s latest products, the different markets it serves and how R&D continually focuses on sustainability and water-based inks. What’s more, the pair talk about how Covid-19 was ‘disastrous' for the company for the first few months, but how they believe digital printing and inks has a bright and promising future.   To find out more about NUtec Digital Ink, visit www.nutecdigital.com  
This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Martin Flora, VP, Business Development, Green Theme Technologies.   Founded in 2013, Green Theme Technologies is an emerging textile innovation company based out of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, US. The business’ mission is to create products that out-perform existing technologies while eliminating water usage and pollution, hence the development of its EMPEL platform. Comprising clean chemistry, polymer science, and a patented process, the EMPEL platform is helping to create products such as PFC-free water repellents and waterless dyes. In this episode, Flora talks about how the concept began in the kitchen of Dr Gary Selwyn with him mixing and applying various chemistries on his ironing board, how the technology is applied to textiles, and the first applications that the company is focusing on. Elsewhere, Flora explains how the EMPEL platform is cost-effective, has added benefits such as uniformity compared to wet processing, and how the secret to a sustainable future is simplicity. To find out more about Green Theme Technologies, visit www.greenthemetek.com 
Ep. 74: Speedo

Ep. 74: Speedo

2021-07-2338:07

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Dr Jan Blenkinsopp, head of research and development at Aqualab (the innovation arm of Speedo).  Based in Nottingham, UK, Speedo created its first swimsuit in 1928, and has since helped to pioneer Lycra swimsuits. It has also developed the controversial Fastskin Racing System and contributed to countless gold medals at the Olympics and other competitions.  In this episode, Blenkinsopp introduces ‘the most intelligent swimsuit of all time’: Speedo Fastskin 4.0. This ‘concept swimsuit’ has been developed with forecasted technological advancements in mind to create a suit that could lead to an improvement of up to 4% across sprint events by 2040. Here, Blenkinsopp talks about the technologies involved such as artificial intelligence, energy harvesting fabrics, and bio-engineered materials, all the while discussing the financial and manufacturing feasibility – and whether it would actually be race legal. To find out more about Speedo and Aqualab, visit www.speedo.com 
This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Topher Anderson, manager, technical embroidery application at ZSK Research and Training Center. Founded just a few years ago, the ZSK Training and Research Center is a subsidiary company to ZSK Embroidery Machines. Based on the West Coast of the US, the Center has been set up to help anyone from students to established companies to find solutions concerned with technical embroidery. In this episode, Anderson explains the basics of embroidery and how it has transitioned from traditional applications such as baseball caps and T-shirts to technical embroidery including smart textiles and composites. He talks through the capabilities and opportunities that lie within technical embroidery, and he outlines the different machines and how they can be modified for emerging products. Elsewhere, he talks about how embroidery helps to reduce waste, bolstering sustainability, and how the team is improving the data and connection between the machines to improve efficiency and workflow. To find out more about ZSK Research and Training Center, visit www.training.zskusa.com
This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Georgia Parker, innovation manager at Fashion For Good. Founded in 2017, Fashion for Good is a global innovation platform that is on a mission ‘to make all fashion good’. By sparking and scaling innovation, by offering practical action in the form of support, funding and roadmaps, and by fostering sector-wide collaboration rather than competition, the organisation enables invention and widespread adoption of good fashion practice.In this episode, Parker highlights the organisation’s newly launched scheme called The Renewable Carbon Textiles Project that aims to accelerate the development of PHA polymers. She mentions the collaborators involved, the plan of action, and how the project could lead to commercial pilots and trials afterwards. Elsewhere, Parker talks about this year’s accelerator programme and the solutions that have particularly caught her eye, noting that there is still a huge opportunity in areas such as digitalisation and manufacturing technology for sustainable innovation. And how important it is to fully understand the impact of these new solutions to ensure they are better than the materials that we’re trying to replace. To find out more about Fashion For Good, visit www.fashionforgood.com
Ep.71: Motif

Ep.71: Motif

2021-06-1138:22

The WTiN Podcast is back for another series, and this time we kick off by talking to Jackie Corlett, founder and director of Motif and Motif Handmade.  While founded decades apart, Motif (1990s) and Motif Handmade (2010s) share a vision to support traditional weaving practices in Bangladesh by making them part of today’s solutions. Motif focuses on the production of woven fabrics and getting people into the workplace, while Motif Handmade is about working with the weavers to design collections and to make the most of the design talent they have to offer. In this episode, Corlett talks about the network of weavers that she has become apart of over the years, the diversity of fabrics that they’re able to create, and how they are even introducing recycled yarns into collections. Elsewhere, Corlett talks about how socially and environmentally sustainable artisanal weaving is, and how it’s a scalable, accessible and financially competitive way of manufacturing, which is why she is encouraging designers and brands to think about integrating artisanal weaving into their supply chains. To find out more about Motif Handmade, visit www.motifhandmade.com 
Ep. 70: Nextiles

Ep. 70: Nextiles

2021-05-2840:35

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Dr George Sun, CEO, Nextiles. Founded in 2019 and spun out of MIT and the National Science Foundation, Nextiles is a wearable smart textiles company that uses its patented sewing technology to apply circuitry directly into fabric. Through this, the team creates a cohesive hardware-software ecosystem where it can leverage machine learning technologies to transform the sensor data into actionable insights that clients can use to better train and quantify human performance.In this episode, Sun talks more about how the company came to be and how Covid-19 helped the team to put its finger on a market that would see the value in Nextiles’ technology. He goes on to explain more about the materials and their sensing capabilities, the data that is collected, and how the company tackles data security. Elsewhere, he talks about other markets that Nextiles could filter into and how the company will soon be launching flagship products to elicit ideation within the industry.  To find out more about Nextiles, visit www.nextiles.tech
Ep. 69: Huue

Ep. 69: Huue

2021-05-2134:12

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Michelle Zhu, CEO and co-founder of Huue.Founded in 2019 by Zhu and Tammy Hsu (CSO), and based on UC Berkeley-invented bioengineering research, the company uses biotechnology to create the ‘world’s most sustainable dyes’, with its first mission being to create indigo blue for denim makers. In this episode, Zhu explains what she means by ‘bioengineering’ and how the company uses microbes to create and collect the dye. Elsewhere, she talks about how this drop-in solution is highly scalable, how it could even beat plant-based dye prices, and how the performance characteristics have not been compromised. Lastly, Zhu talks about the importance of collaboration between startups and brands and how there are so many opportunities within bioengineering that the textile industry should tap into.To find out more about Huue, visit www.huue.bio 
Ep. 68: Fabscrap

Ep. 68: Fabscrap

2021-05-1430:40

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Jessica Schreiber, founder and CEO of Fabscrap. Founded in 2016, Fabscrap is a non-profit organisation rethinking commercial textile waste by providing convenient pickup of unwanted textiles from New York City businesses. The team ensures maximum diversion from landfill by utilising the most current recycling technologies and engaging the local creative community in reuse.In this episode, Schreiber explains how her experience working in the city’s Department of Sanitation inspired her to set up Fabscrap and she paints a picture about how big the problem regarding commercial textile waste really is. Elsewhere, she explains how the service works, how brands can get involved, and how the public can get involved by volunteering to sort the collected materials. Lastly, Schreiber outlines her plans to extend the service to Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and how franchising the business might be the best option if it were to ever go international. To find out more about Fabscrap, visit www.fabscrap.org 
This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Sydney Gladman, chief scientific officer at the Material Innovation Initiative (MII).Founded in 2020, the Material Innovation Initiative ‘exists to make the sustainable option, the easy option’ by accelerating the development of next-gen materials that are high-performance, animal-free, and more sustainable for the fashion, automotive, and home goods industries. The team identifies untapped sources, connects entrepreneurs and startups to venture capitalists to accelerate commercialisation, conducts global quantitative and qualitative research, and much more. In this episode, Gladman talks more about the problem surrounding animal-derived materials and why the company exists. She discusses some of organisation’s latest and upcoming research concerning consumer perceptions, silk, and a hefty state of the industry report, and how the company is looking to hire someone whose sole focus will be on environmental impact assessments and providing clarity on the sustainability of materials. Lastly, she also provides her thoughts on how the next-gen materials industry may evolve over the coming years. To find out more about Material innovation initiative, visit www.materialinnovation.org
Ep. 66: We aRe SpinDye

Ep. 66: We aRe SpinDye

2021-04-3034:20

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Andreas Andrén, CEO at We aRe SpinDye. Founded in 2014, We aRe SpinDye has developed a colouring method that focuses on the coloration of the recycled material before it is extruded to fibre and spun into yarn. By melting colour pigments and the recycled polyester mass together, homogenously coloured yarns are created, without the use of water. This method helps to reduce water by 75%, limit chemicals by 90%, and improve energy consumption by 30-40%.In this episode, Andrén talks about how the process works step-by-step and explains how brands – big or small – can work with the team to integrate this method into their manufacturing process. Elsewhere, he talks about the benefits of switching to spin dyeing, the challenges that companies would have to consider, how the company is exploring other applications in addition to recycled polyester, and how the business is embracing digitalisation. To find out more about We aRe SpinDye, visit www.spindye.com.
Ep. 65: Finisterre

Ep. 65: Finisterre

2021-04-2335:43

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Debbie Luffman, product director at Finisterre. Founded in 2003 by Tom Kay, Finisterre is a British outdoor clothing company that has adopted a sustainable approach since its inception. The business started in a flat above a surf shop in Cornwall with an innovative fleece, and now it is offers wetsuits, T-shirts, jackets and more.  In this episode, Luffman talks about the measures that the company is taking to be as sustainable as possible including using Aquapak’s soluble packaging, offering a repair service, and becoming a Certified B Corporation in 2018. Elsewhere, she tells us about Finisterre’s functional and biodegradable BioSmock Jacket which won Gold at this year’s ISPO, balancing simplicity with complexity when it comes to educating consumers about sustainable products, and how the company is exploring fibre-to-fibre recycling and using kelp to create new materials.To find out more about Finisterre, visit www.finisterre.com 
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