HIGH POINT – Suppliers at the recent Interwoven textile show in High Point showcased numerous fabric lines to support sustainability, creating opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly products.
According to the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s 2021 Green Home Furnishings Consumer Survey, 97% of 7,000 respondents reported interest in buying environmentally safe furnishings, and four out of 10 of the 30- to 60-year-old homeowners surveyed said they are willing to pay up to 10% more for these items.
During Interwoven, showrooms including Crypton, Regal Fabrics, Ultrasuede, and Swavelle Group featured fabric lines that incorporate recycled materials, underscoring ongoing innovations in the sustainable textile arena.
Crypton introduced the company’s first recycled fabric line in 2021, using natural fibers for performance textiles. The Crypton Performance Cotton fabrics are made in the U.S. at the Crypton Mills at Broad River using 50% to 70% recycled cotton, repurposed from the apparel industry.
“Crypton has a decades-long sustainability initiative that is an integral part of our brand platform,” said Elise Gabrielson, Crypton vice president of marketing. “Our brand is renowned for innovation, and every Crypton product is developed by our scientists to include inherent properties and processes that forward our commitment to sustainable design.”
Kindred by Regal Fabrics
Kindred by Regal Fabrics features a line that includes 50% natural fibers or 100% recycled material. All of Kindred’s sustainable fabrics are available with added performance finish, and two of its 100% recycled fiber fabrics are stocked with its CZero Pureformance finish, a flourocarbon-free stain repellent.
“At Regal Fabrics, we are always doing our best to choose sustainability wherever we can. With Kindred, we got to start fresh with a blank canvas so we were able to commit to sustainability every step of the way,” said Andy Kahan, market manager for Regal Fabrics. “Most important are our new value-oriented performance body fabrics that are 100% post-consumer recycled polyester.
“Unlike fabrics with only partial recycled content, by being 100%, these fabrics offer the full sustainability story and also come with performance protection that is totally free of fluorocarbons.”
Ultrasuede has a sustainability goal to continue to increase its sustainability percentage, which currently is at 14% of total fabric composition made from plant-based polyester fiber.
“Ideally, Toray (Ultrasuede’s parent company) will achieve its 100% plant-based composition goal before the end of this decade,” said Leslie Newby, CEO of WorkTheBrand, agency of record for Ultrasuede Interiors division. “Additional R&D is needed to ensure that Ultrasuede fabric maintains performance standards for cleaning, durability, and colorfastness.
“While there may be more than one road on the path to progress, Toray believes future investment in renewable raw materials aligns more completely with its sustainability goals.”
Swavelle Group serves retail fabric stores, jobbers and wholesalers, furniture manufacturers, bedding and pillow manufacturers, the RV industry and hospitality design companies and is taking steps towards sustainability in all five of its brands, as well as its workplace. The five brands Swavelle Group markets are Swavelle, TFA, Swavelle USA, Bella-Dura Home and Bella-Dura.
“The Swavelle Group is committed to protecting the environment through investing in sustainable business and manufacturing practices in our domestic mill as part of our corporate social responsibility,” said Barbara Rogers, director of marketing Swavelle Group. “Bell-Dura is proudly made in the U.S. with the only fiber on the market, synthetic or natural, that begins as a by-product and ends its life as a fully recyclable product.”
The yarns used in manufacturing Bella-Dura are solution-dyed and reduce the use of water and chemicals compared to traditional wet process. Rogers notes that this method also uses substantially less energy and produces no harmful industrial waste. Bella-Dura’s fabrics and yarns can be safely and easily recycled and used in a myriad of other products.
“Certified recycled yarns are used in the production of Swavelle USA fabrics,” Rogers told Furniture Today. “Post-industrial, recycled cotton/polyester yarns are made from apparel waste and processed back into usable fibers that are pre-sorted by color. No additional chemicals or dyes are used, resulting in a reduction in water consumption, energy use and environmental pollution.”
Swavelle also participates in a fabric recycling program where textile waste is collected and upcycled for other products to avoid any fabrics ending up in landfills.
“We encourage our customers to send back samples rather than discard them so that they can be reused or recycled as appropriate,” said Rogers. “The use of emerging technologies allows us to control waste in the product development process by encouraging customers to use simulation in the colorwork phase rather than producing numerous samples. This not only conserves material resources but also drastically reduces the time to market and our carbon footprint.”
In addition, Rogers mentioned that Swavelle Group has an internal team working on ways to refine corporate policies and initiatives that reflect sustainability and has a long-term goal to make its domestic mill fully sustainable in seven years.
For more information on eco-friendly textiles, go to the International Textile Alliance website.