Textile Industry Trends & Growth

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

The textile industry has evolved greatly since the invention of the cotton gin in the 18th century. This lesson outlines the most recent textile trends around the globe and explores the growth of the industry.

The Textile Industry

Did you know that firefighters, law enforcement officers and military troops depend on textiles? Their fire-retardant gear and bullet resistant vests are all made of textiles. Textiles are products made from fiber, filaments, yarn, or thread, and can be technical or conventional depending on their intended use. Technical textiles are manufactured for a specific function. Examples include an oil filter or a diaper. Conventional textiles are made for aesthetics first, but can also be useful. Examples include jackets and shoes.

The textile industry is an immense global market that affects every country in the world either directly or indirectly. For example, the people selling cotton increased prices in the late 2000s due to crop issues, but then ran out of cotton as it was being sold so quickly. The price increase and the scarcity was reflected in the consumer prices of products that contained cotton, leading to lower sales. This is a prime example of how each player in the industry can affect others. Interestingly enough, trends and growth follow this rule as well.

The textile industry is varied, which means that many countries choose their own path and direction to follow, whether that is medical textiles or high fashion. However, there are a few trends that seem to be the new direction for most of the textile market.

  • Technology - Technical textiles are a large and growing market right now. Countries are rehabilitating mills and buildings and hiring new staff to work on new innovations like 3D printed clothing and shoes or smart fabrics with small chips that act as conductors and energy converters.
  • Non-Woven Fabrics - New machinery has made it possible to pursue non-woven fabrics. Non-wovens are non-yarn materials that are pressed together rather than woven. The reason this is an advantage is the labor is less intensive and the product can be made quicker and for less money. Non-woven fabrics are also very hygienic, which is great for the medical field, a large part of the textile industry.
  • Domestic Sales - Countries like China and the Unites States are focusing not only internationally, but domestically as well. Creating products domestically, and marketing to local communities, is creating a new and larger market for countries that are normally internationally focused.
  • Environmental Sustainability - The environment has become a large issue in the textile industry due to the immense use of water, the air pollution, and waste concerns. Many countries have started to really focus on green textiles. Some of the new innovations are making clothing out of used coffee grounds, algae, or spoiled milk. These new textiles are unique and are gaining popularity in the market.

Growth

The textile market has experienced a roller coaster ride over the last decade. Due to specific country recessions, crop damage, and lack of product, there has been a variety of issues that hinder the growth of the textile industry. The textile industry in the United States saw serious growth in the last half dozen years and has increased by 14% in that time. Although employment has not significantly grown, it has evened out, which is a large difference from the late 2000s when there were immense layoffs.

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