The fourth annual Guimarães Home Fashion Week was held June 26 and 27 in Guimarães, Portugal. At this year's fair, ways to minimize the impact of home-textiles production rivaled interesting materials as top innovations.
Fátima Sousa, Commercial Manager for Domingos de Sousa & Filhos, revealed that retail customers worldwide are insisting on sustainable practices. Taking care of waste, saving water and recycling yarn are all important. So is reducing energy. As a result, this company and others have installed solar panels on their buildings. Everything counts. Nothing is too small to be considered, Ms. Sousa says, since environmental standards are becoming more important with each passing day.
One resource initiative attracting attention this year was up-cycling. Up-cycling was touted as a way for home textiles makers to help solve problems around manufacturing-waste, making them better stewards of the earth. Multiple vendors introduced it into their assortments. Some companies even showed off new hangtags conveying the up-cycled message.
The up-cycled materials used are not a by-product of the same factory that weaves them into a new end product. For instance, Lasa Home uses cotton waste from a fabric manufacturer in one of their newest towel collections. Rugs shown at Vianatece are made from 100% linen leftover from other textile industries’ production. The earthy texture of these rugs fits perfectly with products targeted to global trends.
At Neiper Home, the Aero Silk towel collection was developed using 50% organic cotton and 50% Cupro. Cupro is a super-fine fiber that sticks to cotton seeds during textile production. In the past, it has been discarded as waste. Now this cotton waste is being stripped away, dissolved and extruded. After that, it is spun into a fine thread with a soft and silk-like hand, breathability, high durability and hypoallergenic qualities.
Materials can come from even further afar. For example, Rosacel Home Textiles teamed 20% Repreve yarn—polyester fiber made from plastic bottles recovered from the ocean—with 80% cotton to weave items like throws. Neiper Home’s Aero Geo towels are made with corn waste from production.
In addition to up-cycling, unexpected materials also debuted at GHFW with the goal of making products more earth-friendly. Case in point: cork.
Cork burst onto the home-textiles scene in cotton/cork blends woven by Têxteis Penedo, S.A. They were shown for the first time in Guimarães. The company is excited about using cork because it is 100% natural, recyclable, biodegradable and renewable. Since Portugal is the source of almost 50% of the world’s cork production, materials don't have far to travel from one of the 1.6 million acres of cork forests to Portuguese mills.
Integrating up-cycled materials, new cork fibers or ongoing hemp and bamboo into textiles not only shows a commitment to sustainability, but also helps set one mill’s assortment apart from the others.
The next GHFW will take place June 16 and 17, 2020. For more information, email Maria Alberta Canizes.