The worsening climate emergency has pushed consumers to think more about their health and wellbeing, therefore encouraging the purchase of solution-based products that claim to have a good impact on your health, in an almost survivalist sense. Products like these that offer moisturising, anti-aging or anti-pollution qualities are on the rise and look to be more abundant over the next year. As fabric technology becomes more advanced, it has become increasingly popular for brands to source fabrics with wellbeing properties, to add an extra dimension to their collections. From essential oils, to precious metals, to crab pulp, textile developers are continuing to test the potential of impregnating either fibres or fabric coatings, in order to give the fabrics various wellbeing properties.
Whether through product design or specially developed fibres, brands are finding ingenious new ways of giving their products a protective or wellbeing edge. Vollebak is a brand doing this brilliantly through product design. Their Planet Earth Hoodie is designed to be rapidly adaptable for almost any situation, featuring a visor built to protect the wearer from anything from storms and blizzards to midges, and a hood and collar which can be worn in four different configurations. Constructed from an ultra-fine layer of Merino, the hoodie claims to keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold, is high wicking, breathable, odour resistant, highly elastic, and insulating even when wet.
Over recent years, luxury brands have been paving the way with adding wellbeing properties into the fibres of their garments, as their margins and market positioning make it much more possible for them to experiment with innovative fabrics. However, it is clear that as increasingly more of these technical fabrics are being developed, they are becoming much more readily accessible and available at lower price ranges, and are no longer exclusively reserved for luxury brands. Speidel is a great example of this, as an affordable brand producing lingerie and loungewear pieces using SeaCell™LT technology. SeaCell™LT is a fibre made from wood and seaweed, which contains natural antioxidants such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Seaweed contains properties which help to activate cell regeneration and protect the skin from free radicals, which subsequently means that the fibres soothe the skin, reduce inflammation and minimize itchiness and irritation.
Designers have also been experimenting with original ways of using technology to really make a statement about the climate crisis. Eva Sonneveld, an Amsterdam based fashion designer, released a collection called Survival Constructions in collaboration with technology student Claudine Peters, focussing on fashion as a form of protection. The collection featured a vest knitted from one 50 metre length of rope, which could be unravelled and used in emergency situations. But the showstopper was a sweater which incorporated a chip, that could sense when it was near dangerously high levels of pollution- causing the sweater to change colour and informing the wearer of the problem. Pollution has become one of the biggest concerns amongst people this century and brands are looking for new ways to address the situation. Companies such as O2O2 have been designing face masks which are not only filtering air but also collecting pollution data, to help map pollution across the city, and we are already seeing the development of shoes and bicycles that filter air as you go.
This technology is certain to merge further with the fashion industry as it continues to develop, through textile development and innovative product design. Expect big technological developments particularly in activewear, where consumers are already focussing on their wellbeing and often more vulnerable to pollution through outdoor exercise and higher respiration rates.