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From Fiber to Consumers: How Nanotechnology Helps In The Sustainability Of Textile Value Chains?

By Nur Hani Aqilah,

In recent years, client awareness to update their conventional clothing and apparels collection has grown enormously. Nanotechnology enables the creation of multi-functional textiles with long-term durability that can be integrated into smart textiles.

However, what will the future hold if we do not practice sustainability and conserve our natural resources in the next 20 years? Could sustainability involve in the product value chain besides the 3R – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? In this article, we explore sustainability in textiles and how nanotechnology can contribute to their implementation.

Product value chain especially in the textile industry involves many aspects from many sides and sources. The textile value chain is vast and complicated; thus, it may be hard and challenging to implement the sustainable practices throughout the chain. Many brands around the world have started practicing methods to achieve zero discharge for the upcoming years. However, can they really discharge the real ‘zero’ that will help in leading to sustainability?

From land to the ocean, the textile sector is behind one of the highest environmental and socio-economic impacts on the planet. Besides the carbon and water footprint, it also involves the usage of hazardous chemical compounds in processing clothing, disturb wastewater quality, used clothing disposal and recycling, damage to human health and social risks.

Cited from Amutha, K. (2017) in Sustainable chemical management and zero discharges. Sustainable Fibres and Textiles, 347–366, according to an American clothing company, Patagonia, the carbon footprint of a standard T-shirt is eight times the weight of a shirt. The estimation for an average T-shirt has a net carbon footprint of 6 kg, which is roughly 20 times the product’s weight.

Re-examine the hotspot activities in textile supply chain

There are four parts that can be categorised under the textile supply chain according to Deidre Hoguet in The Guardian; extraction of raw materials, textile manufacturing, added chemistry, and end-of-life. However, there must be a hotspot activity in this supply chain that is significant for environmental, social, and economic impacts.

The exploitation of raw materials, for instance, concerns the land and water needed in producing such natural fibres; cotton and wool and also the extraction of natural resources in processing synthetic fibres. In terms of textile manufacturing, it included water and the most important is energy, whether from natural energy which coming from labour or electricity. Not to mention about the impact of production waste, the social obligation of a firm towards its employees and the community surrounding the production plants. Adding chemical may affect the health of the workers as well as customers via end product, and also the discharge of leftover chemical might pollute the environment.

Sustainability In Textile Value Chains

From designing, manufacturing, disseminating, retailing, and consuming a textile product, all activities in textile value chain encompassed value (whether it is provide or receive value) including raw material extraction and supply, as well as beyond their useful lifetime. At the end of process, after its first usage, the textile product may be utilised again, or recycled for another purpose, as in this case were donated second-hand clothing. This circumstances usually happened in Asian country like Malaysia whereby people will collect and gather all unused, non-fit and second-hand clothing in one stop centre and donate to orphanage or indigent families. However, after donating those clothing, they might not use all of it, hence, there will come the other problem which is unmanaged clothes where end up lead to landfill or incinerator plant as end-of-life treatment.

The activities connected with the value chain frequently depicted as a linear depiction from the generation of raw materials to the end of their lives, but they are likely to reuse, repair/recycle and recycle items that add loops to the image. Meanwhile for circular value chain, the textile will be utilised again, for instance by broken down or upcycled the fibre level and spun into yarn and resulting in new garment.

Hence, this circular value chain were much more sustainable rather than the linear as per denoted in figures 1 and 2 thus further reinforce the statement issued by UNEP 2020 in the report Sustainability and Circularity in the Textile Value Chain, “The aim of circularity is to shift the “take make-dispose” linear value chain into a circular system, where materials are not lost after use but remain in the economy, circulating as long as possible at the highest possible value”. Hence, amongst the activities involve, they might have the unsustainability hotspots between them, thus can be followed to become more sustainable by the aid of nanotechnology in textile which has been blooming nowadays.

Rethink Sustainability Via Nanotechnology In Textile

Since sustainability has arrived in the textile industry, it has frequently illustrated as the idea of reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, can textile industry just depend on those 3R idea itself? Is there any solutions that might help in achieving sustainability? How about technology such as nanotechnology that has been use widely in other segment of business too?

Apart from 3R, sustainability can start with product design. For example, by booking and sewing our cloth itself rather than buying those apparel. This solution can help small-sized customers especially so that they did not throw the leftover fabrics in a waste bin and the other part are, we can help the small-medium tailors in gaining some profit and expanding their business.

Next, in terms of technology, nanotechnology is here in making textile more sustainability yet enhanced the function in the apparel. Nanotechnology is announced by many as the next industrial revolution, and has an exceptional potential to revolutionise several industries through the improvement of existing technologies and radical introduction of new instruments. But how nanotech can be used to reduce environmental impacts? Two answers leading here are surface coating and treatment of textile fibres and coloration and structural colour.

Textile aftercare has previously been identified as a major negative environment impact in the textile life cycle on both home and commercial scale such as hotel laundry due to the usage of energy and water consumption to clean up the dirt, thus, the impact of durable surface coatings might be substantial if they become more widely accessible and cost effective.

Stain resistant, abrasion resistant, water and oil repellent, self-cleaning, anti-static and antibacterial, all these Nano embedded treatments can help textiles last longer and reduce the need for washing or dry cleaning to eliminate dirt and smells. Certain treatments may also minimise the need for ironing, resulting in energy and water savings as well as fewer replacement costs.

In addition, coloration of textiles through dyeing and printing were much affect our environment. Reduced dyeing wastage, which occurs due to poor colour accuracy and uneven dying outcomes, would have a good influence on a process that presently consumes a lot of water and energy and whose effluents have polluted waterways all over the world, especially since the introduction of synthetic dyes.

The use of very old process including the use of gold and silver nanoparticles to colour substances can produce a good range of colour. Not only that, nanocoating’s also help in maintaining colorfastness by providing resistance to fading caused by UV light and abrasion caused by washing and wearing hence increasing fabric longevity and reducing waste.

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Upcycling Fashion with Nanotechnology

By NanoTextile Associate, Strategy and Development , Nur Adilah Binti Masri & CEO, Thomas P.S. Ong,

What is “Take-make-waste,” or what we called linear economy? It is a practice where we take resources from the land to create things that we use, and we throw them away when we no longer want them, which will end up in the landfill.

Also, clothing manufacturers reduce prices while making goods more cost-effective for customers. Dropping the costs makes production faster, and every season produces several collections. This practice is an unsustainable process that causes resource scarcity and excessive pollution load.

According to Sasibai Kimis, a Malaysia coordinator for the Fashion Revolution, a general impression of Malaysia’s ethical fashion is still in the early stage. Especially in developing countries, where the practice of sustainable fashion development is still limited (Wai Yee, Hassan, & Ramayah, 2016).

Based on Kloth Cares statistics, Malaysians generate over 2000 tons of textile waste a day, covering five percent of the solid waste in the landfill, which the numbers will further increase.

Nur Adilah Binti Masri

“Most producers, designers, and consumers have not even been exposed to the idea of questioning who made their clothes and under what conditions,” she added.

However, Kloth Cares, Biji-biji Initiatives, Selangor Youth Community (SAY) are some of the movement’s growth in Malaysia in catalysing sustainability, especially in fashion and textiles.

We also see some of Malaysia’s fashion brands launching new lines incorporating “evergreen,” a key trend shaping the growth and maintaining their competitive position in the global market. For instance, TudungPeople launched their eco-conscious “green hijab”, featuring printed shawls made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.

As studied by Dr. Nor Irvoni in her webinar, “Consumer and Fashion Marketing: Challenges and Opportunity Beyond 2020”, these types of market segmentation seem to be one of the consumer preferences nowadays. She also revealed that eco-anxiety, financial uncertainty, and emotional contagion positively predicted 2022 Consumer sentiment, which changed their spending on clothing. Hence, this situation will surely reconstruct the fashion and textile industry.

Circular Fashion

Citing Forbes, fabric specialists over Europe recently created an innovatively inspired new business and consumption model, circular economy (CE), that is projected to have a significant effect on the industry soon.

Excess can be minimised through this system, with multiple interactions between revolutionary technologies in the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0. Based on the Ellen McArthur Foundation, CE is based on various concepts designed on waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.

Following that, it examines the vision for a new textiles’ economy through three focus areas that are critical to realising this vision: new business models that increase clothing use, safe and renewable inputs, and solutions that used clothes turned into new.

Clothes, shoes, or accessories should be designed, sourced, produced, and provided to be used and circulate responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use (Anna Brismar, Green Strategy, 2017).

In other words, fashion products should be designed with high longevity, resource efficiency, non-toxicity, and good ethics in mind. Moreover, the goods should be utilised for as much as possible, through upcycling (turning unwanted products to a better quality and values), and via excellent maintenance, repair, restoration, and sharing over time (through rent/lease, secondhand, exchange, etc.) by multiple users.

How Nanotechnology Can Play A Role In The Circular Economy?

Ellen MacArthur Foundation stated that clothes designed and produced at a high quality, durability, and provide different functionalities and flexibility are examples in the form of personal styles, customised or modifiable clothes.

NanoTextile Sdn Bhd, is among the pioneers to offer new solutions for fashion retailers in having access to high-quality, functional, and individualized clothing through nanotechnology. They advocate in business model that improve textile functionality and increase clothing use.

The sustainable and upcycle future envisioned by Dr. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of NanoTextile believes in the marriage of both technology with sustainability in addressing the concerns and impact of textile wastes.

For instant, fading or color fastness can be reduced with nano-protection through exposure to UV light. Nanofibers enhances the dye absorption, hence the usage of organic dye in less amount could be more friendly to the environment at long run. Imagine all these advantages when they are coupled with Sustainability’s The three R’s rule.”

People tend to dump clothes once it starts to display material flaws, hard-to-remove stains, less durable, or has lost coloration. Therefore, by designing clothes with nanotechnology, it captures the value through various series and functions; hygienic, protection, comfort, care, premium and advanced with anti-microbial, UV protection, and self-cleaning, high-durability and lightweight, etc.

If clothes are increasingly made to last, it could significantly increase cloth utilisation, thus reduce cloth waste. Even as clothes become unwanted or unused, they still remain usable, which also enhances the resale model to a wide range of consumers.

NanoTextile’s latest partnership with Volvo Car Malaysia, 3 Little Ahmad (3LA), PONEY, and a few well-known Muslimah brands revolutionises fashion, providing hygienic series technology that can combat bacteria.

Revealed by Dr. Thomas, it also includes anti-odor features, which is proven to reduce laundry needed by 30 percent. Now, you can wear more, wash less, and stay fresh for a longer time.

NanoTextile is also incorporating the technology into fabrics with non-toxic nanoparticles (hybrid nano inorganic element suspension), a water-based nanomaterials.

They further enable non-toxic materials for the sake of the environment as it reflects actual cost (environmental and societal), which is why CE is endorsed.

“I often think Nanotechnology or nano-enabled product goes well with the “green economy” concept, managing the interaction of the environmental and economic domains. It is the physio-chemical properties of the resultant products and zero toxicity of the nanotechnology (materials or processes) that we can assure the consumers that we continue to strive for green sustainable economy in textile industry” said Thomas.

To sum it up, we should redesign fashion and textiles. More sustainability approaches can be encouraged by the emergence of the circular economy (CE), including adding value to the fabrics.

Opportunities that exist for innovative business models can be employed by nanotechnology; to increase functionality and boost clothing care to give this industry a new life.

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Textile Focus – NanoTextile Unveils New Website by 2021

Off the camera, NanoTextile Sdn Bhd has always had so many enquiries about what they do, their  services, what are their core values, and so on. Hence, within this week, NanoTextile Sdn Bhd is launching a new corporate website to encompass the business insights within the five years of journey. 

Advancement of digital technology and the economy, business communications have become more engaging. This is the perfect timing for the company to unveil the new site in the second quarter of 2021. The new site features a simple, contemporary design with a full update of the new portfolio, tools, and effective navigation. We aim to please our viewers and international clients. By clicking on our webpages, details and information are easy to find and refer. In addition, mobile users for Android and Apple devices will enjoy the same experience as viewers on laptop and desktop computers as it is fully optimized and compatible with the same ease of use. 

As stated by the Chief Executive Officer of NanoTextile Sdn Bhd, Dr. Thomas Ong, “NanoTextile wanted to give new experience to the viewers and client to know more about us as we have a vast of interesting stories to tell and we need our website as a new way for our clients to engage with us. We have been fortunate in the past few years especially in 2020 where NanoTextile nab Nanotechnology – Apparel trophy in Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards. Hence, we want to give the audience an easy access to pertinent information quickly. At one time, it represented us, and our mission to tap on the innovative potential of nanotechnologies in functionalized textiles. By the time they (clients) click on our website, it will give them some sort of idea on what NanoTextile is”.

In supporting the affected business players in the textile industry during this pandemic COVID-19, in line with our professional services, we provided pro bono consulting and advisory since 2020. Besides, you (viewers or clients) can review it on our website if you are curious about business partnerships, and we welcome you to know us more as we invite you to become part of us. 

“Having our website is like our introduction card; ever evolving and similar. It can be introduced to anyone. In media platforms, as the world is revolving, so do us. Indeed, one of the best features is, we have included a new inquiries mode for our client; a single click determines whether you would want to commercialize using our technologies for your products or get advisory and consultation from us as we assist you based on your product range. Besides, we welcome collaboration with a higher organization such as Research and Development (R&D) institutes and not to forget, the brand retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. As we move forward into 2021 and beyond whilst still practicing the new norm, getting the idea about our services is vital. With our technologies, we enable business players to venture into a new demand such as our anti-bacterial technology. 

Moreover, the audience can now review consolidated featurettes such as press releases, interviews, and success stories such as the recognitions across the world; i.e Malaysia Technology Excellence Award in Nanotechnology – Apparel category is within touch from the website. Our new partnerships with Volvo Car Malaysia for example, is a click away from useful links to their sustainability principles by launching their premium Batik face mask infused with our technology. 

In terms of the website provider, we have worked closely with the team from Exabytes in terms of designing, copywriting, and developing. Plus, Exabytes also has been trusted by 140,000 customers worldwide and they have created websites for high-end customers such as Royal Brunei Airlines, Abbott and Nando’s.

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Fibre2Fashion – NanoTextile Unveils New Website by 2021

Malaysia-based nanotechnology service provider for the textile industry NanoTextile will unveil its new website encompassing business insights from its five-year journey. The new website features a simple, contemporary design with an updated portfolio, tools and effective navigation. It has also been optimised for Android and Apple users.

“NanoTextile wanted to give new experience to the viewers and clients to know more about us as we have interesting stories to tell and we need our website as a new way for our clients to engage with us. We have been fortunate in the past few years especially in 2020 where NanoTextile nabbed Nanotechnology – Apparel trophy in Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards. Hence, we want to give the audience an easy access to pertinent information quickly. At one time, it represents us, and our mission to tap on the innovative potential of nanotechnologies in functionalised textiles. By the time they (clients) click on our website, it will give them some sort of idea on what NanoTextile is,” said Dr Thomas Ong, chief executive officer of NanoTextile Sdn Bhd.

To support the affected business players in the textile industry during this pandemic COVID-19, the company provided pro bono consulting and advisory since 2020. Besides, viewers or clients can review it on its website if they are curious about business partnerships, the company said in a press release.

“Having our website is like our introduction card. In media platforms, as the world is revolving, so do us. We have included a new inquiries mode for our client; a single click determines whether you would want to commercialise using our technologies for your products or get advisory and consultation from us as we assist you based on your product range. Besides, we welcome collaboration with a higher organisation such as Research and Development (R&D) institutes and not to forget, the brand retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. As we move forward into 2021 and beyond whilst still practicing the new norm, getting the idea about our services is vital. With our technologies, we enable business players to venture into a new demand such as our anti-bacterial technology,” the release said.

Moreover, the audience can now review consolidate featurettes such as press releases, interviews and success stories like recognitions across the world. The company’ new partnerships with Volvo Car Malaysia for example, is a click away from useful links to their sustainability principles by launching their premium Batik face mask infused with NanoTextile technology.

In terms of the website provider, we have worked closely with the team from Exabytes in terms of designing, copywriting and developing. Plus, Exabytes has also been trusted by 140,000 customers worldwide and it has created websites for high-end customers such as Royal Brunei Airlines, Abbott and Nando’s.

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Modest Modernist in Malaysia: How Nanotechnology Can Fit In Textile Industry?

Globally, people are gradually investing in the expanding multi-billion-dollar market, modest fashion. Luxury, streetwear, and fast-fashion retailers like Uniqlo, H&M, Dolce & Gabbana, ASOS, Mango, Net-a-Porter and Nike have been seen tapping into modest fashion marketing. Modest apparel is a style concept for Muslims which emphasis clothing that does not reveal much skin; for woman consumers, they wear hijab (scarves), layers of cloth, long sleeves, long skirts, and high neck cover.

However, modernity has made modesty develop new ways to adapt to the current culture. Nowadays, modesty has been embraced by all layers of community, despite their age, religion, and gender. Modest fashion continues to gain notability in the market, wherein in 2018, US$ 283 billion (RM1.16 bil) was accounted for in this industry, and it is predicted to hit US$ 402 billion (RM1.65 bil) in 2024.

Combining culture with technology

Recently, the launch of new products incorporating technology is a key trend shaping the growth of the fashion market. In Malaysia, major players in modest fashion are competing to launch a new line of clothing with the latest technology such as sustainability series, to maintain their competitive position in the global market.

Figure 2: The collection uses sustainable fabric sourced through its collaboration with Kloth Cares. Source: https://tudungpeople.com/pages/save-the-ocean

How nanotechnology is reshaping the fashion and textile industry in Malaysia?

Nanotechnology is used based on shared elements such as carbon, gold, silver, and other related compounds and composites which enable technical and value-added textiles to enhance the functionality of a diverse range of products. To improve the surface characteristics of clothing such as microbial, waterproof, antistatic or UV protection, colour durable, self-cleaning, odour-resistant, stain-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, and better thermal efficiency; nanoparticles are increasingly used along with fabrics or embedded on clothing.

NanoTextile Sdn Bhd (NTSB) is the first and the only provider in Malaysia for nanotechnology services and consultation, which enhances the products’ value. Technology from NTSB has been incorporated into a wide range of many textile industries such as healthcare, industrial, and consumer applications, including apparel such as Muslimah wear, kids wear, undergarments, activewear, and many more. Predictably, as revealed by NTSB, Modest and Kidswear are the best-targeted sub-segment in nanotechnology.

Muslimah or Modest fashion had exceptionally contributed the highest percentage in opting nanotechnology in Malaysia, which include scarves, women’s wear, innerwear, hand socks, and face mask. TudungPeople and many other well-known modest fashion brands have made a move-in exploring their new range with nanotechnology, which recently, they have collaborated with NTSB for anti-microbial properties, one of the growing uses of nanotechnology in Malaysia.

This technology finds its way in modest wear because it is highly demanded by the working woman, the mother with kids, and for modesty purposes which require layering of cloth that may be susceptible to bacteria or odour. The COVID-19 era also has shown the increasing demand for nanotechnology in modest wear which has been proved that modern modernist consumers are willing to pay more for these kinds of products. 

The new “less is more”

Humans nowadays are focusing on less fancy cloth which gives the word “less is more” a whole new meaning in this industry. The end-product quality; comfort, durability, functionality, should outnumber the quantity and over the forecast period, Malaysian consumers will increasingly head online to do their shopping. They will not be able to touch and feel the cloth they are purchasing. As stated by We Are Social and Hootsuite, internet users in Malaysia inclined 3.6% while e-commerce growth in Fashion and Beauty worth US$874.0 million rose 16% from 2019 to 2020. From those online purchases, fashion had made up US$ 753.6 million (RM3.114 bil) in 2018 and is predicted to grow by a CAGR of 11.5% to hit US$ 1.3 billion (RM5.36 bil) in 2023.

Putting forward quality should be a priority. All industries, retailer brands have the means to look at the world from a new perspective, to meet the needs and expectations of the consumers during this tough time. Adapting to these uncertain times requires resiliency, flexibility, creativity, and innovation. Mentioned by Hootsuite, more consumers were becoming socially responsible which the demand shifted towards purpose-driven capitalism.

The events of the year 2020; climate change, racisms and pandemic, have definitely intensified these socially aware mindsets. In the years to come, purpose-driven businesses will undoubtedly grow. By delivering added value and functionality, integration of nanotechnology with clothing or smart apparel projected to be a major trend in the future, in varied segment, especially in modest wear. Fashion designers should be exploring and expanding the boundaries of wearability as our life now happens almost entirely online.

In line with the vision of NTSB, focusing on expanding towards sustainability remains the catalyst to enable the clothing or textile industries along with other segments to move the industry in an upward direction of the value chain of the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0 era. NTSB is actively collaborating with the local fashion brands in growing awareness of the need to maintain and set high quality in their products. Equally important that NTSB will ensure market entry of a product enabled with nanotech is quick after the development stage.

Dr Thomas Ong, the CEO of NTSB highlighted that one of the NTSB’s investments emphasized the effort and time in grooming these new sub-segments with high guarantees, which made NTSB to be awarded the Nanotechnology – Apparel trophy in the recently concluded Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards 2020. “When Fashion Meets Technology” will surely infuse confidence in the consumer.

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Covid-19: How Antibacterial Textile Guide You Through The Darkness?

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In the midst of COVID-19, who would have thought this would happen. The unprecedented COVID-19. In early 2020, we were all caught off guard by an illness caused by a novel coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Despite the fact that we are one step closer to entering the great Fifth Industrial Revolution, and the cure for COVID-19 is still being created, the war is far from over. As a result, what do we do at the very least to eliminate the virus? We ought to mitigate everything about what we wear and prevention is easier than treatment. According to the source, at room temperature, COVID-19 was detectable on fabric for up to two days, compared to seven days for plastic and metal. However, when it was exposed to high heat, the virus became inactive within five minutes.

In consequences, we must adapt to the current norm in order to reduce the number of deaths and infected patients, which has crossed 124 million worldwide. To deter COVID-19, for example, the ‘new rule’ that should be followed nowadays is to stop touching MEN’s mouth, eye, and nose and to follow WOMEN; wash hands, obey social distancing, mask up, exercise daily, and never ignore above four lines. It is, though, becoming an integral part of our lives. To adhere to the recommended procedures in order to reduce the number of sick patients.

The-distribution-of-COVID-19-cases-by-Ministry-of-Health-Malaysia

Since the pandemic began to rage in early 2020, people have been concerned about maintaining their source of income, and this is not exclusive to business players, especially B2C players. Businesses who can offer their products by retail may be concerned with their sales because they are unable to open their store during quarantine. Furthermore, it may also impact the e-commerce market players due to a loss of revenue from consumers, or customers may believe it is not worth investing their money on merchandise, especially when it comes to clothing or apparel, as they might feel “what’s the point of buying a shirt for RM60 when you just sit at home?” and “why should I buy a shirt while the old shirt still can be use?”

However, thanks to the nanotechnology services provider of  textile and garment industry in Malaysia, NanoTextile to save someone’s bacon in this current situation. NanoTextile offers the opportunity for business players to “invest” in functional clothing as part of their product collections, a safety and precautionary investment. NanoTextile has in offer for the resultant clothes design and processes, but also in business models where innovations, leading to a range of functionalities, technical offerings, and production methods has become the outcome from the offerings. Nowadays, we know that people and technology somehow cannot be separated as most of it right now are prone to become technology-savvy. Everywhere we go, we need technologies to survive. Hence, in the midst of COVID-19, it’s not about the technology we hold, but the technology we wear. NanoTextile is able to make the dreams realization of,  “When Fashion Meets Technology” come true. It can be seen through this theme, functionalized clothing textiles has now become a higher demand mainly in Muslimah fashion brand in this country precisely for anti-bacterial technology which is featured in Hygienic Series; one amongst many series NanoTextile has got to offer, then and now.

Hence, the core to understand how anti-bacterial technology works is first by understanding the meaning behind it. Anti-bacterial was classified, according to the dictionary, as anything that kills bacteria or suppresses their growth or reproductive potential. The main function of anti-bacterial textile is to help prevent the growth and spread of microbes from attaching tangibly on the fabric. A humid condition allows the bacterium to linger and propagate in the air roughly 45 minutes after someone sneezed. Subsequently once it is attached to our clothes, the embedded anti-bacterial properties help slow down the growth of bacteria by preventing the migration and microbial growth which is further enhanced by human body sweat secretions, skin desquamation, natural particles present in the clothing fibers or on the fibers itself, or nutrition from elsewhere in the environment.

If we can see, the condition described above is extremely beneficial in a situation rife with viruses and illnesses such as Covid-19. It’s like having two layers of protection against the virus and the environment. For example, we wear a face mask that also has anti-bacterial properties on it. As a result, consumers would feel secure. Similarly, BioRomper, a recent start-up, debuted a single product, an antimicrobial jumpsuit. When travelling, this New York formulation was designed to avoid cross-surface contamination. It’s similar to a hazmat suit, but it’s more sustainable and appealing at the same time. According to L’officiel, BioRomper took five months to develop the jumpsuit and it was sold out in just eight weeks.

Additionally, anti-bacterial technology on textiles helps create awareness amongst people on the hygiene practices in clothing we wear. Nanotechnology in the matter of fact, does not only shield you from bacteria and other microorganisms, it also provides the cloth with a permanent defence to combat bacteria, mould and mildew that create smell. This makes anti-bacterial products in textile stay fresher longer and persist protect against the potentially dangerous bacteria lasts wash after wash. On a different note, in the warm and humid areas, the mould were not subject to cloth only, but it also has affect to leather goods, mattresses, and home walls. This problem has shown in Malaysian store as the leather products are covered in mould after being left untouched for two months due to the strict regulations during quarantine last year. Plus, this problem also hit some of the cinema in Malaysia as the seats and carpets had been totally ruined by the mould and dust due to poor ventilation and humidity.

 
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Overall, as anti-bacterial technology on textiles is a current niche for business players in the new era of disease on Earth, it is predicted by Scott Pantel, the CEO of Life Science Intelligence, the textile market for anti-bacterial will not going into a short-term bounce at a critical juncture like this pandemic situation, but will experience long-term growth as it has been foreseen will surpass $20.5 billion by 2026. This can be seen by the anxious shoppers which makes the industrial players seek a higher level of thinking whereby hygienic clothing has been introduced. These types of upgrades appeal to customers who live busy lives and as a result, affect their purchasing decisions. We might not know what will happen in the next few years but hygiene and cleanliness always be number one from now. Besides, with respect to this pandemic, wearers requested more for anti-bacterial textiles or apparel, such as anti-bacterial face masks, headwear, and clothing. Some individuals demanded to have a trendy but safe fabric face mask for their regular use, such as the fashion face mask of batik, satin face mask, knitted face mask and so on. Therefore, business players need to grab this chance to ventured into nanotechnology in textiles.

Apart from that, the commercialization of anti-microbial technology on textiles has not stopped to clothing only, but it also has been commercialized in home textile, sportswear, accessories and more. Home textile is the fabrics, the textiles that were used for home furnishing that make our lives more comfortable; such as bedding, floor coverings, and towels. In addition to that, it gives us more cosiness and easiness if it is embedded with anti-bacterial technology. Users or hotel management especially do not need to wash the collected towels every day as it seems to become unsustainable and waste the resources. It has been estimated in United States by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that laundry accounts about 16 percent of hotels’ water usage which can be translates to affect a significant amount of energy costs. As many hotels prefer to make the difference via conservation of water, tourist may not feel comfortable with this initiative, but with the presence of antibacterial technology, it helps to keep towels smelling better with less required washes and it will give you that “just laundered” pleasure.

All in all, everyone feels the intensity of COVID-19, the after-effect of COVID-19, the stronger will survive and the wise one will take the chance, especially the business players. At first glance, you will see it is not worth it to commercialize into this functionalized textile or apparel, but in the long term, it will give you unbelievable benefits. You do not need to go abroad to sit the same low, stand the same height with overseas products as NanoTextile will help you redefine your goods especially to adapt to this current situation. The need for the use of nanotechnology in this industry is motivated by the ever growing need for advanced fabrics with unique features and exceptional comfort. Hence, anti-bacterial technology on textiles is quite an unexceptional product in the midst of this pandemic that can gives a lot of benefits and guidance to walk through the darkness of COVID-19.

Article Link : Covid-19: How Antibacterial Textile Guide You Through The Darkness?

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Nanotextiles: Opportunities and Global Markets

Nanotextiles Opportunities and Global Markets

Nanotextiles are a class of textiles that utilize nanotechnology during their fabrication process. In particular, the term nanotextiles applies to four categories of products: nanocoated textiles, fabrics consisting of nanofiber webs, textiles obtained from composite fibers based on nanostructures, and nanoporous textiles.

Although the origin of nanotechnology can be traced back to the 4th century, the first nanotextiles were only introduced during the 1980s in the form of nanofiber-based membranes for filtration. During the past 40 years, sales of nanotextiles have expanded steadily and are currently experiencing very strong growth, due to their increasing use in the fabrication of mass-market products within a range of sectors. This study provides an updated, comprehensive description of nanotextiles and their characteristics, highlighting the latest developments in their fabrication technology and features. It also offers a detailed market analysis for these products by segment (nanotextile type, functionality, nanostructured material, application, and region), describing technical aspects and trends that will affect future growth of this market.

The publisher has divided all the applications where nanotextiles have current and potential use in two main groups: consumer products and technical products.

Consumer products, which include mainly apparel and household articles, currently account for the largest share of the market. Within this segment, nanotextiles are being used primarily for the fabrication of high-performance outerwear and stocking.

Sales of nanotextiles are projected to continue rising at a double-digit rate during the next five years. Relevant factors that will contribute to market expansion through 2024 are the following:

  • Increasing penetration in large industry sectors such as apparel, filtration and separation, catalysis, biomedical, energy, and automotive.
  • Greater utilization in the fabrication of products characterized by strong demand, such as membranes, photocatalysts, and tissue engineering scaffolds.
  • Growing market penetration of nanotextiles in developing countries.
  • Increasing the use of these products in wearable electronics and wearable medical devices.
  • High levels of related R&D activities.
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When Fashion Meets Technology

When Fashion Meets Technology

Nanotechnology has helped revolutionise the concept of smart textiles with various offerings in terms of performance, comfortability, cleanliness and current needs. The market for nanotechnology-infused textiles has risen rapidly from $20.3 billion in 2008 and is projected to reach $205 billion by 2022, representing 16 per cent of the global textile industry by value.

Fashion and technology are inevitably a blend of art with each comprising its own advancements and developments. When Malaysian company NanoTextile launched the themes ‘When Fashion Meets Technology’ and ‘When Mighty Meets Nano’ in 2019, fashion companies were quick to pick up on the latest trends. It was the year when we realised that the fashionista and technologist have to collaborate more. NanoTextile did just that by expanding to everything from clothes and business models to innovations in functional products, technical offerings and production. Though clothing is a commodity industry, its future will be about more than just merely covering our bodies.

 

Nowadays the fashion industry has become more interesting and advanced. The demand has grown so much over the past years that consumers are demanding more than just a fabric. Technology is therefore infused into fashion and that has enhanced its level. Based on a report published by Cientifica Research in 2016, textile industry players look forward to improve technology adoption. By 2022, nanotechnology in the textile industry will be a $3.5-billion opportunity for wearables, comprising half of the total textile market. The market for nanotechnology-infused textiles has risen rapidly from $20.3 billion in 2008 and is projected to reach $205 billion by 2022, representing 16 per cent of the global textile industry by value.

 

NanoTextile offers the scope for both investment and opportunity for all main players in the industry to bridge the gap. The initiatives make a decent impact when industries invest billions of money on nanotechnology to create sustainable alternatives. The gaining pace becomes faster as it is driven by consumer demand. The fashion industry and technology combine from manufacturing process until the end product to satisfy consumer demand. The application of nanotechnology offers advantages in the fashion industry with various offerings in terms of performance, comfortability, cleanliness and current needs.

 

Comfort is one of the vital attributes in fashion. It is the one of the contributing factors affecting sales. Demand has tilted to products that ensure comfort while maintaining a sense of fashion. Focus has shifted to movement of heat and water vapour in garments. Heat transfer through a fabric is a complex process, which can be affected by the thickness of the fabric and fabric type. Nanofibre technology had been used to reduce the thickness and weight of fabrics. This has since become the precise measure of comfort. Fashion designers can now choose and allocate their designs according to the wider range of fabric choices.

‘When Fashion Meets Technology’ has definitely infused confidence among consumers. The idea was to convey the message that technology can be used to improve the current state of fabric. With embedded nanotechnology as an added value proposition, many new functionalities are being introduced. For instance, our collaboration with Malaysian kids apparel brand Poney in 2019 targets a specific audience with the launch of Baby Essential Extra Care collection with anti-bacterial properties. We have since received feedback and gained confidence among parents to offer extra protection and comfort in our nanotechnology-enhanced products. Nanotechnology offers a variety of protection possibilities to fabric. Our proprietary technologies and processes give resultant effects ranging from UV protection to anti-microbial properties, odour control and self-cleaning functionalities. For modernisation of the clothing industry, NanoTextile offers a new approach to fabric materials processing. Nanotechnology-embedded fabrics can be modified to do almost everything, including quick drying and breathing and resist liquids.

 

E-commerce has also been seen as the next complementary technology to allow fashion to work its best. Social networking technology allows business owners and designers to promote their products all over the world with just one click. In recent years, the revolution of fashion along with these enabling technologies has made clothing relatively cheaper.

 

From light-weight and wrinkle-free fabrics to non-woven textile incorporated with sensors, fashion has no limits when it comes to infusion of technology. Nanotechnology has helped revolutionise the concept of smart textiles. When combined, fashion and technology have jointly delivered incredible range of performance benefits. This unique combination will continue to meet consumer expectations. These three pillars—technology, fashion and consumers—would interchangeably shape the modern day perspective toward textiles.

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Fashion Shift: Clothing Reimagined

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We have seen a slow shift of fashion in the recent years, in clothing textiles particularly. Regardless of which market segments of sportswear, kids’ garments or women’s clothing, they have all shown some functionalities as new offerings to consumers. The demand has increased along with what these fashion brands and retail outlets have got to offer. Regardless of the approach, the direct use of nanotechnology enhancement in textiles has been inevitably shown to create properties like stain repellent, wrinkle-free, static eliminating, electrically conductive and anti-microbial garments. These properties have been found to be further benefitted by there being no compromise in clothing quality and comfort.

Let’s look at some statistics to validate these observations. The demand has grown so much throughout the past years where consumers are demanding more than just a fabric. The industry players in the textile industry look forward to improve in technology adoption. The market for textiles making use of nanotechnologies has risen rapidly from $20.3 billion in 2008 and is projected to reach $205 billion by 2022 representing 16% of the global textile industry by value. Women’s clothing line is amongst the many sub segments ready to push to sales up and forward with technology adoption.

Fashion and technology are inevitably a blend of art with each comprises of its own advancements and developments. When NanoTextile launched the themes “Going Functional” in 2016, “When Fashion Meets Technology” and “When Mighty Meets Nano” in 2019, fashion companies are by necessity quick to pick up on the latest trends. It was the year when fashionista and technologist believe in clothing reimagination. NanoTextile did just that by extending to everything from clothes and business models to new innovations in functional, technical offerings and production.

NanoTextile offers the opportunity of both investment and opportunity for all main players in the industry to offer functional clothing as part of their series of products. Fashion industry and technology combine from manufacturing process until the end product as they face up to its responsibility to satisfy consumers and fulfill demand. In NanoTextile, we are focused at nano-embedment processes, which is the final finishing process. Our technologies are compatible to different types of fabric such as composite, leather, cotton, PE, chiffon, silk, lycra, linen and etc. Optimization of the embedment process is done to target market segments like automotive, industrial, home and clothing textiles. The application gives advantages in fashion industry with various offerings in terms of performance, comfortability, cleanliness and current needs. The technology finishing defers from each other. NanoTextile offers an array of technologies, functionalities attributed by nanotechnology range from the Hygienic, Care, Comfort, Protection, Advanced and Premium series. For example, the Hygienic Series would consist of the anti fungus, anti microbial, anti bacterial, self-cleaning and odor control technologies. By offering the embedment processes through friendly and approachable business models, clients can maintain their supply chain un-disrupted.

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“When Fashion Meets Technology” has definitely infused confidence to consumer. Using nanomaterials in industrial textiles offers a way to the creation of textiles that fits this bill. The idea was to convey the message that technologies can be used to improve the current state of fabric. With nanotechnology embedment as an added value proposition, many new functionalities are being introduced – the demand statistics. For instant, “When Mighty Meets Nano” in 2019 promotes odor free technologies in women’s clothing and sportswear market segments.

In 2020, NanoTextile sets forth to continue the attempt to reimagine the fashion industry. There will be three products launches with its partners as well as two strategies to extend the spill over success from the past years which include free consultation all year long. It has always been a mission to catalyse the industry by getting the industry to embrace functional textile manufacturing. If 2019 was about setting footprint at international level like Fibre2Fashion and World Textile Information Network (WTiN), then 2021 and beyond is about converting and reaching business realizations.

With that, nanotechnology is a no doubt an interdisciplinary technology often seen as a new industrial revolution. It is offering a novel means of processing fabric that could transform the clothing industry. To modernize the clothing industry, NanoTextile offers a new approach for the processing of fabric materials. The expectations of modern day consumers regarding the textile products they use have increased dramatically and will continue to rise. Consumers want textiles that suit their taste and are comfortable, hygienic and eco-friendly. The ever-increasing demand for sophisticated fabrics with special features and exceptional comfort drives the need for the use of nanotechnology in this industry.

Article Link : Fashion Shift: Clothing Reimagined

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Want to Broaden your Products? Nanotechnology Uncovers the Opportunities That Creates Diversified Fashion and Textile Industry

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Much has been said about 2020; from climate change, humanitarian and political crisis, COVID-19 contagion, to vaccines’ discovery, and now we are moving toward Industry 5.0. Pandemic indeed has significant economic impacts on the global value chain. There will be winners and less oblivious winners, too. The fashion and textile industry are greatly affected at the beginning of COVID-19; however, some sectors are set to jump when the world starts returning to normal in 2021. Analysts made predictions over predictions as they look at consumer behaviour and demand changes throughout the year. Predictably, the key trend for post-pandemic will be focusing more on flexibility and diversity.

Now, e-commerce has snowballed over the year. Recent data shows that the pioneer of e-commerce, China building its influences among international consumers, with affordable shipping cost. Many deals, unique and diverse items are offered, which consumers will always be looking. Pandemic also acts as a catalyst to bring many more people with different backgrounds online. This situation represents a clear and immediate opportunity for retailers, especially when it comes to e-commerce. This widening of online consumers may also trigger a new digital innovation wave, resulting in new platforms, new services, and even unique preferences.

Quoted from TextileToday.com, manager director of the textile and apparel industry of Bangladesh, Khantex Fashion Ltd said diversifying is the critical tool in moving forward the Ready-made Garments (RMG) manufacturing or textile apparel business. Unique offerings and differentiated shopping experiences undoubtedly hold the key for today’s consumers’ trend.

Product diversification is vital in today’s fashion

Opportunities arise for textile and apparel entrepreneurs in these rough times. Customers act different, and retailers are struggling to adapt through digitalisation. To appease new market needs, diversifying products and collaborators are a need. Many retailers are looking for new partners to increase product ranges or fill a demand exposed by the pandemic, such as multifunctional items for hygienic purposes.

As we all know, apparel is one of the essential needs of society. However, fashion has its evolution in its functionality based on individual, gender, culture; in fulfilling their preferences and needs of desire. As mentioned by the World Economic Forum, in the path to industrialisation, the textile and apparel industry considered as a starter sector that could be a core driver of development and employment. In some countries where the global textile market is estimated to be $950 billion, which expected to rise over $1.2 trillion by 2022. As an aside, sustainability has become an emerging trend across fashion retail, made to replace raw materials rapidly.

Likewise, technical and smart textiles also have enormous potential to be integrated into this industry, such as women’s and men’s apparel, kidswear, activewear, traditional wear, undergarments, bed linen and accessories. Apparel for nanotechnology sees positive growth. Stated in the Nanotechnology Clothing Global Market Report 2020-30: COVID-19 Growth and Change, the demand for nanotechnology fashion will influence and alter our lives over the next ten years and beyond, including markets’ response to the pandemic.

Varying Textiles and Apparel with Nanotechnology

Nanoparticles are increasingly used along with fibres or embedded on clothing to enhance the surface characteristics of clothes such as antimicrobial, odour-resistant, waterproof, antistatic or UV-protection, breathability, and cooling, durable and lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, insect repellent, flame retardancy and better thermal performance. The nanotechnology applications include nano-finishing, nano-fibre, nano-composites, and nonwoven textiles.

Based on Statnano.com, 62 countries had harnessed nanotechnology. Only 41 countries had specifically ventured into textile sectors such as United States, China, Germany, Iran, United Kingdom, Australia, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Italy, and Japan. Many of the well-known companies active in the industrial textile field have now embraced nanotechnology, including Adidas Group, NIKE Inc, Yachticon Inc, Givenchy, ASICS Corporation, O’NEILL, Gore Bike Wear, and many more. 

In particular, the global market for technical textiles generates tremendous traction from increasing demand for functional fabric for safety and monitoring in the industrial sector. Nanotechnology is likely to play a significant role in developing the textile and fashion industry due to the diverse applications across several end-use industries, such as infrastructure, manufacturing, automotive, aviation, defence, clothing and healthcare.  As well, factors such as the rising healthcare spending worldwide, public consciousness on health and hygiene, and growing preferences for antimicrobial clothing are projected to boost the demand for antimicrobial textiles in the future. Hence, antimicrobial textiles market showed a growth rate close to 9.8 per cent CAGR from the period of 2020 to 2026.

According to McKinsey’s State of Fashion report, sportswear, activewear, and loungewear appeared as the champions through the pandemic. The rise of the higher-tech materials and construction activewear demand recently has also added more value to the consumers. Technology such as self-cleaning and antimicrobial properties inhibits the bacteria’s growth that causes bad odours, stains, fabric deterioration, and even physical irritation. Moreover, by incorporating non-toxic nanoparticles (hybrid nano inorganic element suspension) in fabric, clothes now only need to be washed less frequently which is proven to be reduced by 30 per cent, revealed by Dr Thomas, CEO of NanoTextile Sdn Bhd (NTSB).

NTSB is the first and the only nanotechnology service provider and consultant in Malaysia. They were recently delivering prominent consumer brand firms such as PONEY, FILA, POLO, Pos Malaysia, and Sunway Medical Centre. NTSB is committed to providing the industry leaders with the nanotechnology to grow the textile and fashion landscape in Malaysia in a more advanced, tech-savvy, and sustainable way. “R&D has always been on the agenda of NTSB. Commercialisation of the technologies is crucial by making sure the adaptation of it in textile segments and creating the new value chain of demand and supply,” according to the company. NTSB is now working hand-in-hand with the local fashion brands in growing awareness of the technical textiles in consumers.

However, in Malaysia, the recent data published by the Statistics Department of Malaysia indicates that the textile, apparel, leather, and footwear industries are still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s effects. In that case, it is crucial to highlight the importance of strategic diversification of products, whether by finding new applications for the brand’s profitable potential and technical know-how, or new technology to extend beyond its product range. In building a new direction in these turbulent times, the industries must tackle and collaborate with technology. All in all, nanotechnology will diversify the textile and fashion market.