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Innovations in Fabrics, Circular Economy and AI at Sportswear Pro 2024 Conference

by Kelley-Ann Young Kong | 19/01/2024
Innovations in Fabrics, Circular Economy and AI at Sportswear Pro 2024 Conference

We speak to 4 experts who will be speaking during the upcoming Sportswear Pro 2024 conference that will offer insight into the latest technologies, sustainable manufacturing processes, fabric innovations and thought-inspiring case studies.

Sportswear Pro 2024, FESPA’s newest exhibition will showcase the latest innovations in sportswear for on-demand and customised sportswear production. From sample design and automated digital workflows, to innovative materials and integrated wearable technologies, the exhibition and conference will present sustainable, faster and leaner production solutions to sports and activewear brands and manufacturers.

During the exhibition, an immersive 1-day conference will take place on 21st March 2024 and will offer valuable insights into the latest technologies, sustainable manufacturing processes, fabric innovations and thought-inspiring case studies. Attendees to the conference will be able to engage in riveting discussions that focus on topics such as AI, current sportswear trends in the European market, sustainability in sportswear and increasing the efficiency of supply chains in the future.

18 speakers have been confirmed to present at the Sportwear Pro 2024 Conference.
In this blog, we speak to 4 of these 18 confirmed speakers about their experience, their businesses, the topics they will be discussing during the conference and their thoughts on this new and exciting exhibition.

Designing for the Circular Economy

Caption: Serena Bonomi, a consultant that specialises in Circular Economy innovation and strategy

Serena Bonomi is a Strategy and Business Designer with over 11 years experience in innovation for Circular Economy and has helped brands to innovate by leveraging user research, emerging technologies, and industry synergies. Serena works with businesses all around the world to develop achievable strategies and roadmaps and helps pioneer products and services that embody circular principles whilst simultaneously meeting customer needs and business viability.

She has been working for more than 6 years for VF Corporation, who owns famous sportswear brands such as The North Face, Timberland and Napapijri. She has led innovation efforts in EMEA on projects that involved flatbed digital knitting to merge style, developing and commercialising the first monomaterial Cradle to CradleTM outerwear designed for circularity for Napapijri.

Serena will be joining a panel discussion with other speakers on designing for the Circular Economy where panellists will discuss topics such as circular design principles, how to minimise waste, how to improve collaboration between your suppliers and partners as well as product life extension.

Serena commented: “After over 6 years of working in the circular innovation space, I see the increasing importance of breaking the "sustainability" silo and it is crucial that these topics are brought to a wider business-focused audience at events such as Sportswear Pro 2024.  Moreover, within the sportswear industry it is often characterised by oil-based synthetic materials, elastane, print, personalisation and on demand business models can play an important role in designing a more sustainable industry.”

How can AI tools help produce better garments, more efficiently and sustainably?

Caption: Kevin Van Lancker, Founder of Sportswear of Tomorrow

Kevin Van Lancker is the Founder of Sportswear of Tomorrow, a contract manufacturer for sportswear brands who are based in Romania. They support brands who are interested in redefining their sports apparel by implementing AI to reduce waste. Currently, they are assisting over 285 brands worldwide with premium garments in cycling, athleisure, horse riding, golf, and eSports. Their team consists of product developers, pattern makers, graphic designers and seamstresses. They are also launching an open source platform where customers can download patterns and access insight into the garment manufacturing industry. Sportswear of Tomorrow hopes to support these brands with their expertise and knowledge.

In his youth, Kevin was originally an athlete and was part of the Belgian national skating team. At 18 he started working in the design and production of sportswear. In 2015, had his own brand and shifted to becoming a supplier to brands worldwide. In 2019, he moved the production to Romania and they are launching a second factory via a partnership in Guatemala to serve the US market. The business started working with recycled fabrics 8 years ago and are very experienced working with these types of substrates.

At Sportswear Pro 2024, Kevin will be joining a panel discussion where he will discuss how Sportswear of Tomorrow are helping sportswear brands to become more sustainable and how they can efficiently use AI tools to help produce better garments to ensure that waste is kept to the minimum which is crucial considering that textile manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries in the world.

When asked about FESPA’s new exhibition Kevin said: “I think Sportswear Pro is a great initiative to bring together suppliers and customers to discuss how partnerships can be built. Brands are facing enormous challenges with sustainability, COVID negatively affected many companies and now the war in Ukraine is not helping either. We feel some larger companies are moving too slow when it comes to sustainability and believe building partnerships is essential. Businesses do not need to face these challenges alone, and for that, an exhibition like Sportswear Pro is the perfect place to network and discover helpful innovations!”

Innovations in Materials and Fabrics for Sportswear

Caption: Paul Foulkes-Arellano, Founder of Circuthon

Paul Foulkes Arellano is the founder of Circuthon who works with fashion and sportswear brands to source novel fossil-free textiles and dyes. In addition, the consultancy offers mentoring the novel materials companies themselves. Paul’s experience in the industry initially began in footwear manufacturing where he worked on the manufacturing of trainers for Airwalk in 1997 in Mexico. He advised performance apparel brands from 2012 till now and focuses on a combination of both footwear and apparel.

During Sportswear Pro Paul will discusses the latest sustainable materials and fabrics for sportswear.  He will converse about the new standards and new tools available for large fabric companies and the future of sportswear. In addition, he will also speak about the latest legislation and how this will affect the sportswear industry.

Paul commented: “I’m an environmental campaigner and an advocate for toxic-free circularity.  Sportwear brands are some of the biggest and fastest growing brands in the world.  They are also a platform for change and have a huge role to play in educating future generations. So, speaking at Sportswear Pro will offer a platform to discuss this important issue.”

Sustainability - New Developments and Trends from a Scientific Point of View

                   
Caption: Nicole Espey, from the ITA Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University

Nicole Espey is a Stakeholder Manager for the BIOTEXFUTURE project at the ITA (Institute for Textile Engineering and Research) at the RWTH Aachen University. It is an innovation space which is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research focused on new bio-based materials for textile production (including sportswear).

The core focus of the ITA Group International Centre for Sustainable Textiles is research and teaching, the ITA Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University. The ITA Group International Centre for Sustainable Textiles focuses its core competence on ensuring the holistic biotransformation of textile technology and the use of biological principles for small-scale value-added processes. The ITA Group International Centre for Sustainable Textiles is an international research and training service provider for fibre-based high-performance materials, textile semi-finished products and their manufacturing processes with approximately 400 employees.

Nicole will discuss the latest developments and trends from a scientific point of view. She will cover the political background of the EU Textile Strategy from linear to circular production and consumption, the current sustainability challenges in the textile industry such as hazardous chemicals, animal welfare and social issues. She will also speak about the potential approaches and solutions which include textile recycling, new biobased raw materials and the scientific solutions and practical applications.

Discover the latest innovations in sportswear at Sportswear Pro 2024, taking place from 19th – 22nd March 2024. Sportswear Pro will showcase the very latest technologies and solutions for on-demand and customised sportswear production. From sample design and automated digital workflows, to innovative materials and integrated wearable technologies, the exhibition and visionary trend forum will present sustainable, faster and leaner production solutions to sports and activewear brands and manufacturers. Register here and use promo code SWPJ407 and save 30 euros.

by Kelley-Ann Young Kong Back to News

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