Textrends // 11/08/2023

ISPO Textrends celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Image credit: Louisa Smith
Louisa Smith
Author:
Louisa Smith

The ISPO Textrends platform is already an incredible 10 years old! Louisa Smith, internationally recognized fashion and textile expert, looks back at the beginnings of Textrends and shares her experiences and observations from the last decade of textile history.

It's been an incredible journey over the past ten years, witnessing the growth and evolution of the material sector. The industry has never been more exciting with the emergence of new attitudes and development. I feel very privileged to have worked with ISPO Textrends since its inception, having had the opportunity to highlight the textile trend directions that will shape the future seasons of the sports and outdoor industries. 

It has been a ball, from the research in terms of developing valuable information, but also by learning from the innovative companies that submit their developments to the jury members who judge and select the winning items every season. The jury meetings alone, have been a wonderful way of observing other member’s technical expertise and, the jury dinners, sometimes very raucous!

The advent of a monster

It's surprising that when ISPO decided to launch ISPO Textrends, it became such a popular awards ceremony! Stephanie Ledru, leading marketeer and the project manager behind ISPO Textrends, strongly believed in getting it approved. She is also known as the 'grande dame' of the textile industry. "When you live and breathe textiles, you understand the importance of a platform for showcasing all these great companies, just like the brands had been at the existing ISPO Munich fair. It made sense to create a unique area for these ingredients, as without them, there would be no collections,” said Stephanie

And she was right. Many companies wanted to participate in the first ISPO Textrends, and the visitors were equally eager. "The ISPO Textrends platform acts as a springboard for sourcing, enabling a quicker connection to the material exhibitors at the fair,” she added.  Moreover, an in-depth communication package is offered that involves social media, award stickers, and the association of the ISPO Textrends jury awarding a product.

 

The twists and turns of the trends

Sometimes referred to as the ‘mad trend lady’ or, for those who fully understand trend speak, have kindly given me the moniker ‘queen of the trends,’ the journey over the years and seasons has been fun, exciting, and intriguing. You can’t find a more energized industry than the performance one. I remember coming to my first ISPO from a lingerie textile show in Paris - I was immediately hooked on the ISPO buzz. Gone went the conservative fashion approach, and in came the opportunity to work in an industry that gives you a kick.

Developing the trends consists of many factors: travel, music, the arts, trade shows, consumer research, socio-economic situations, and much more, all collected and collated to emerge as trends. Each season starts with three megatrends. On receiving the invitation to write this article on the 10th anniversary of ISPO Textrends, I found the first set of megatrends launched in 2013.

Looking back, I am proud to say that I was on-trend back then. The three megatrends, Eco Orbit, +Value, and Going Solo have continued to evolve over the years, covering the rise in sustainability, multi-performance, and digitalization. These megatrends are not only shaping the performance textile sector and sports and outdoors industry but also impacting other industries. They continue to define the way we do business today.

Trials and tribulations

At the very first jury meeting, the initial applications looked flat and lackluster but still held interest to the jury. This was a new concept for the performance sector, and season after season, it started to build up, not just in numbers but in more creative elements, from textures to colorways.  Gone were the days when mills waited for the brands to turn up with a swatch, asking for a material to be manufactured and in a certain color. Today it is a very different business - a level playing field, and speeding up the supply chain. 

So, what have we seen over the years? The emergence of recycled polyester, leading the way towards sustainability, innovative recycled ingredients, and natural fibers are surging through, proving they, too, have a performance level. Chemical finishes have gone clean, and traceability and transparency are in force to avoid greenwashing. Digitalization has taken manufacturing and sourcing to a new level, and ultra-lightweight materials deliver the performance of previously heavier hands. Hybrid blends have been featured, as have mono, and the list goes on, but what can be confirmed is that each season, it gets better. Better in haptic, ingredients, sourcing, efficiency, and manufacturing.

Today, we have moved on to bio-synthetics and finishes, recycled membranes, and zero-waste concepts. Season after season, those initial three Megatrends that kickstarted ISPO Textrends keep evolving - and long may it continue.

Fun and fierce discussions at the jury meetings

From the beginning, ISPO Textrends was defined as an award program. A jury has been allocated each season, and oh, what fun do we have? There is nothing quite so refreshing and endorsing in being around like-minded textile buffs from different backgrounds in the textile industry. This mixture of experiences brings harmonious results, and at every jury meeting, I come away having learned something new.

Every jury meeting setup is the same - table upon table of fabric and trim developments set out. To a non-textile obsessor, it may look strange to a bunch of jury members talking animatedly over a textile sample, but for those in the know, it is magic.

On behalf of ISPO, a big thank you to the jury members for their time, dedication, and knowledge in awarding the products. It has been a pleasure and a pain; sometimes, we disagree and sometimes overwhelmingly agree over a product, but we always make a unanimous decision for every applicant.

Ten years on - ISPO Textrends Fall/winter 25/26

October’s jury meeting was no different. The mood amongst regular jury members is that it has been a minute as we slip back into our banter, but we always welcome newcomers to the melee! 

For Fall/Winter 25/26, various elements connected to sustainability are featured in every product, confirming that sustainability is now the norm and not unique. Mono fabrics featured, textile-to-textile developments, microfiber shedding management, and bio-developments are some of the featured areas this season.

All the jury results will be featured on the ISPO Textrends platform powered by Foursource in Hall C2. The awards ceremony will occur on Wednesday, 29th November, on the Pink Stage. The full ISPO Textrends trend presentation will occur on the Sustainability stage at 11 a.m. Thursday, November 30. 

With that review of the last ten years, I look forward to the next decade of innovation. To lead us out of this review, I am handing over to longstanding and much-valued jury member Braz Costa, general manager at CITEVE. Who summed up what we saw at the jury meeting? 

“Almost all the samples had something related to sustainability, which is an outstanding achievement. This phase is beneficial. We were in a challenging situation in sports because performance and sustainability is difficult to combine.” he said. “We haven’t reached all the aims in sustainability, but the industry is moving. There is still a lot of work to do and lots of challenges. The industry understands the problem and is moving in the right direction.”

See you in Munich!

 

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Louisa Smith
Author:
Louisa Smith
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