Innovations to watch out for at this year’s Future Fabrics Expo

By Amanda Johnston

4 years ago

Amanda Johnston is curator of the Future Fabrics Expo, an annual showcase of sustainable materials by The Sustainable Angle. Below, Amanda shares her vision for a more responsible industry, founded on better materials, and some of the exciting innovations on display at this year’s Expo! 

The fashion industry is one of the most resource hungry and polluting on the planet, and a significant contributor to global warming. Through its activities the industry promotes and feeds an ever-accelerating consumer culture predicated upon an unsustainable TAKE > MAKE >WASTE model, which as consumers we all contribute to.

As part of the solution The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo presents the largest dedicated showcase of globally sourced, commercially available responsibly produced fabrics and materials, along with a spotlight on the innovations poised to transform our future materials landscape.

Research tells us that materials really matter- they represent the beginning of the design journey, embodying tactile promise, and expressing the creativity and substance of new fashion products. However, they also account for highly significant impacts across the supply chain. We focus on materials, as they can play a pivotal role in potentially transforming the fashion and textiles industries, (the material choice alone can account for up to 95% of a product’s environmental and social footprint).

We all need to urgently rethink our relationship with the resources that provide our material needs, and actively engage in responsible choices that contribute to positive impacts, regenerate resources, and limit and re-use waste streams intelligently.

Recent years have seen a surge in revisited traditional natural fibre sources, recycled and bio-material innovations, ingeniously repurposing and regenerating materials that seek to close the loop on our material streams.



In our innovations hub you can discover a variety of materials innovations, that represent new opportunities and solutions towards a more diverse materials future. These innovations exemplify a plethora of material possibilities, engaging us in new stories and demonstrating the possibility for change. Here we showcase both experimental stage and commercially emerging materials and ideas that focus on solutions and systems thinking towards closing the loop on plastic based and other waste streams, such as food waste. For example; Marinatex, a domestically compostable bioplastic created from fish waste seeks to replace non-renewable petrochemical based plastic. Pineapple Wool emerged from a graduate project as a re-crafted fibre from pinapple leaves, a by-product of the juicing industry. Post-agricultural waste pinapple leaves are also re-purposed by Anas Anam, who developed Pinatex as a vegan leather alternative. Desserto, have also created a vegan cactus leather alternative. Bio- iridescent sequins employ bio-mimicry to harness the structural complexity that provides the iridescent colours seen on a butterfly wing, using no dye. Returning to traditional fibres with high performance technology the extra long staple organic cotton from Ventile utilizes textile ingenuity to produce a super durable, waterproof and literally life saving textile.



Transforming current industry practice requires a bold re-imagining of how we balance and manage our resources, and deal with waste, both from an industry and consumer perspective in order to create, manufacture, communicate and experience sustainable fashion of the future. The Future Fabrics Expo provides the inspiration, knowledge and solutions that look forward to a new materials landscape, and the birth of responsible systems and models for the future of fashion.

The Sustainable Angle is excited that the 9th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo will be returning to the impressive gallery space of Victoria House, London on the 28th and 29th of January 2020.

In addition to our thousands of globally sourced textiles and materials, the Future Fabrics Expo is home to apopular seminar programme which features a dozen panel discussions held by thought leaders, experts and change-makers.  This year, our panelists will tackle topics such as Regenerative Agriculture, AI & 3D Design, Biodegradability & Compostability, Circularity, and so much more. For designers, materials hold the tactile promise of new product creation, and are therefore a good place to start thinking differently. The Design Journeys showcase exemplifies this, spotlighting the stories of designers with sustainable practices placed at the core of their business models and sourcing practices.

Get your tickets now for the 2020 Future Fabrics Expo, see the innovations, learn about the future of fabrics, and meet some of the Fashion Revolution team at their fanzine booth.