The fashion industry is in the middle of the largest shift it's seen in decades, and the Future Fabrics Expo in London, hosted and curated by The Sustainable Angle, is at the forefront of change. Marking its 11th year, this year's expo was bigger and more diverse than ever before, featuring double the number of exhibitors as in 2022 and over 10,000 material solutions.
Held at Magazine London in Greenwich, the two-and-a-half-day event hosted 58 exhibitors and saw a seminar series of 16 panel discussions with over 60 speakers, touching on subjects as broad as regenerative agriculture and applying biodiversity to niche spotlights on climate justice, plastic-free finishing techniques, and the power of Gen Z in changing the narrative. The event's Innovation Hub - spread over six thematic stations - brought together cutting-edge materials and technologies, while a new Packaging Solutions showcase supported by Canopy pushed the narrative of paper beyond tree-based fibres.
A key session of the event, titled Building the Biofabricated Materials Landscape, featured representatives from Spiber, Mogu, Biofabricate and Neffa, who discussed the shifting mentality in material innovation - away from working with chemistry and towards working with biology. Three interesting takeaways emerged: we must go beyond the buzzwords - biomaterials, biobased, biodegradable, and compostable - and dedicate time and resources to understanding the complexity behind the emerging material landscape. Brands must demonstrate support for new solutions in any way possible. If financial support isn't available, letters of intent and interest to VCs are crucial to helping the materials of the future become a reality. And finally, there is an entirely new class of materials emerging that will completely change the way we create, but we must stop asking them to behave in the same way as traditional materials.
Championing this advice, discover five emerging materials from the expo that are set to disrupt the fibre basket and be a brand that's ahead of the curve by supporting what's next, not what's already left behind.