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US lab drives innovations

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America has nearly 100 members from a diverse group of manufacturers, startups and institutes of higher learning.

It is leading a 317 million dollar private-public effort to drive innovation in textile and fiber manufacturing. The institute has already produced a major benefit in helping bridge the information gap between universities and manufacturers. New networking opportunities have been created that have the potential to drive innovation.

AFFOA’s new fabric discovery center will provide a base for prototyping ranging from fiber design to new textile products. Other centers will open later this year in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

The fabric discovery centers will serve as regional incubators and accelerators for start-up companies in advanced fabrics, provide rapid prototyping facilities and house training facilities for educational outreach and workforce development.

It’s hoped that a decade from now AFFOA will have secured an important place in the history of textiles and apparel by rapidly deploying and funding existing research and turning it into innovation and jobs. It’s all about taking the technology that’s already in labs.

The apparel industry is new to the innovation game.

Brands are taking ideas from the defense industry and other industries. Everything in a home, including the car, is connected. If people are living in a smart world they expect their clothes to be connected too. And that is where brands step in.