I was recently in Frankfurt, Germany to attend Heimtextil 2023 and more importantly, to cover the color and textile trends for 2024. This year’s theme was “Textile Matters”, which encompassed 4 key color and textile trends: Make and Remake, From Earth, Nature Engineered, and Continuous. Furthermore, incorporated into each trend pavilion were interactive displays that best illustrated each trend, creating a holistic experience instead of just an abstract concept.
Textiles are woven into every part of our lives – in the clothing we wear to the fabric that beautifies the places where we work and live. However, its use has led to the depletion of the Earth’s resources. Because of this, we need to rethink how we source and produce textiles to ensure for a more sustainable Earth. With this in mind, here is what we saw and experienced at Trend Space.
TREND SPACE - 2024 COLOR AND TEXTILE TRENDS
Trend Space returned to Heimtextil 2023 for yet another year. This time London based Franklin Till Studio led the way with the textile and color trends for 2024. As a matter of fact, the four trend displays at Trend Space were the most sustainable representation of product and processes ever on display at Heimtextil. As previously noted, the idea behind this year’s Trend Space was to make the idea of sustainability an experience and not just an abstract concept. In fact, they achieved just that
First of all, “circularity” and “holistic” were two buzz words that were heard often in conversation pertaining to Heimtextil 2023 and sustainability. Hence, approaching sustainability holistically and showing every possible innovation. Nevertheless, both the biological and technical approaches to achieving sustainability were presented at Heimtextil. First, from a biological cycle, sustainability can be practiced by using natural products that can naturally degrade and return to nature after its lifecycle. In contrast, man-made textiles show the technical side of sustainability where advances in technology now allow textiles to be manufactured in a close looped system, hence the word “circularity’. In fact, there is not one approach that is better than another. Instead, it shows that sustainability can be achieved in a variety of ways and different approaches.
2024 COLOR AND TEXTILE TRENDS
The 4 key paths to achieving circularity showcased at Trend Space:
- Make and Remake
- Nature Engineered
- From Earth
MAKE AND REMAKE
“Make and Remake” consists of a palette of nuanced brights that represents color that has been recycled and reclaimed. In addition, the level of hue saturation suggests the effects of age, wear, processing, and transformation over time.
Make and Remake celebrates the transformation of remnants and previously used textiles into upcycled new products. In short, “reuse, recycle, repair, rejuvenate” are the words that best describe the “make and remake” cycle. In addition, various techniques are used to achieve beautiful, and vibrant new textiles, including collage, patchwork, and overdyeing/printing. Actually, “Make and Remake” is the textile trend presented at Heimtextil 2023 that is the most colorful, vibrant and dynamic.
There are many ways textiles have been upcycled to create new materials without making an additional impact on the environment. For example, below on the left, artist Simona Pist works with Adidas and cuts their waste into small pieces and folds them to create 3D effects. In addition, on the right American artist Erin McQuarrie combines craft and digital techniquest, incorporating collage using waste fabric, paper and thread.
A leading voice in circular design research for new materials, models and mindsets is Centre for Circular Design, with their work shown above.
“Nature Engineered” demonstrates the organic material performance through mechanical means. For example, below are some of the innovative ways that natural waste has been repurposed to create new materials.
First, rope and other malleable materials in the interactive display are made of elephant grass, which is otherwise unused, organic waste.
Second, Thomas Vailly uses discarded flowers, leaves and bark from fragrance houses/distillation processes. Steam explosion then creates biodegradable tubing and sustainable terrazzo-like material.
Third, below right, byproducts from wine, coffee, tobacco, and vodka manufacture make up the tile by Gilles Miller Studio. In addition, all the tiles created are biodegradable and compostable.
Biodegradable plant fiber mixed with flax and bioplastic resin make up the suitcase above. Trimmed with vegetable-tanned leather, it makes for a handsome yet sustainable way to travel.
Lastly, an organic binder mixes waste from food production which includes orange peel and coffee beans. As a result, this acts as a sustainable replacement for wood-based materials. At the end of its lifecycle, it can be bed fed back into the production process to create new products. Alternatively, it can be composted.
“From Earth” focuses on an appreciation for nature. For example, dyes derived from nature reflect a warm, soft and muted color palette. Collaborating with nature rather than controlling it results in celebrating imperfection and highly textured surfaces.
Within the Future Materials Library were displays exhibiting the many ways natural color can be achieved using organic material from nature. Dyes made of pomegranate peel, madder root, bitter orange, milled saw palmetto are some of the many ways that natural color can be achieved.
“Continuous” celebrates zero-waste, closed-loop production that sees materials recycled into new product over and over again. In order for the full circular system to be successful, the relationship between brand and consumer is vital. As a result of the relationship and communication between brand and consumer, materials can be guided back to the producer (the brand) so that they can be recycled again and again.
The “Continuous” color palette leans towards the cooler end of the spectrum with modern whites, greys, blues, and almost-black. Despite the limited color palette, it is rich with technology, innovation, and creativity.
Instead of sending used refrigerator parts to the landfill, UK-based Smile Plastics collects and repurposes them. By melting down the plastic waste, it can be reused and large plastic panels are made. Next, these plastic panels are they are then cut and used for retail displays. After that, they are melted down and recycled into other products, creating a circular loop.
"Continuous" In the Field
While shopping Le Bon Marché in Paris the following week, I saw these same plastics in use in some of the retail displays. In fact, these recycled plastic panels are targeted to retail displays as they have a short life span and are changed often.
As in past years, Trend Space at Heimtextil 2023 did not disappoint. Besides having the most sustainable representation of textile on display, the Future Materials Library within each trend space made sustainability more of an experience than it ever has been. This experience will help the specifier convey the message to the end consumer. After all, sustainability is now a reality. As a result of some of the most innovative solutions to achieving a sustainable environment on display, it further cements the importance of sustainability in our world.
Next up, I’ll be posting my kitchen and bath trend observations from KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) so stay tuned!