Sustainable-functional products on show and on-trend at two of Intertextile Apparel’s standout zones

Photo - Messe Frankfurt

With each passing year, evolving trends have seen fashion consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, and increasingly demanding transparency and social responsibility in the textile supply chain. This uncompromising demand, working hand-in-hand with the circular legislature, has accelerated the development of eco-friendly fabrics and resource-conscious manufacturing approaches. With sustainability a factor in their purchasing decisions, China’s large, emerging market for performance fabrics is driven by a new generation of consumers purchasing more athleisure and sportswear. Consequently, much foot traffic is expected at All About Sustainability (Hall 5.1) and Functional Lab (Hall 4.1) at the upcoming Autumn Edition of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics. With the fair set to take place from 28 – 30 August 2023 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), exhibitors at both zones will be showcasing innovative functional textiles with sustainable elements.

A recent trend to emerge in work attire is the shift towards functional, comfortable, and versatile apparel, inspired by the work-from-home era. As one of the largest segments in the performance apparel industry, textile manufacturers now combine functional fabrics with formal aesthetics, catering to the demand for stylish, practical work clothing – a trend that fashion brands are increasingly embracing.

Casual work attire and more sustainable sportswear are both trends that promise to attract buyers’ attention at the upcoming fair’s Functional Lab, located in Hall 4.1, with the zone an important tributary of the strong visitor flow at the recent Spring Edition. Ms. Alice Zhao, Sales Manager of Henglun Textile (Vietnam), a frequent Functional Lab exhibitor, commented: “We exhibit at Intertextile Apparel every spring and autumn, and we will return for the next edition. There has been a definite increase in visitors compared to 2021, with buyers noticeably coming from Japan, the Middle East, and the US, and we look forward to seeing even more international participants at the Autumn Edition. Sustainability is majorly important, and we strive to enhance our production processes and to utilize raw materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled nylon, recycled spandex, and TENCEL.”

This August, Functional Lab will once again be the home of multiple collections of innovative functional fabrics for athleisure, sports, work, and protective wear. One key exhibitor is Nilit Ltdfrom Israel, a backwards integrated global manufacturer of nylon 6.6 fibres and yarns. The company develops unique polymers focused on comfort and performance and aligns its production with sustainable practices, such as post-consumer recycling, and water conservation, as well as utilizing clean energy and reducing emissions.

With sustainability a frequently discussed topic, and athleisure on the rise, integrating eco-friendliness with functionality is becoming more important than ever. Speaking at the Spring Edition, Ms. Jeanie Hu, Marketing Director, Greater China of HeiQ, said: “We use bio-based materials as our products’ main feature and all of our growth products are sustainable. As an example, we convert recycled jeans into a cellulosic yarn, AeoniQ™, which is a completely biodegradable polyester and nylon substitute. Consumers in China are more willing to buy products with sustainable roots and I believe more companies will begin offering these kinds of products.”

To ensure consistent industry-wide standards, it is necessary for suppliers to make their supply chains transparent and compliant with existing legislature. To this end, globally recognized standards and certifications are important tools. Shortly before attending Intertextile Apparel in Spring, Mr. Marc Sidler, Group CMO of TESTEX AG, commented: “The pressure on companies to be more sustainable and socially responsible comes from end consumers, especially younger generations, and from governments and regulators. OEKO-TEX strives to find worldwide certification solutions for our customers along the entire supply chain.”

To this end, Messe Frankfurt’s Texpertise Network has consistently promoted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through various formats, using the reach of its 50 worldwide textile events.

Located in Hall 5.1, Intertextile Apparel’s All About Sustainability zone will be the ideal place for buyers to source eco-friendly products. With a focus on functionality, this zone’s highlighted exhibitor isWe aRe SpinDye AB. The Swedish manufacturer offers polyester yarns and fabrics for apparel, produced exclusively from post-consumer water bottles and wasted clothing. Its sustainable coloring process is third-party certified and fully transparent – by melting color pigments and recycled polyester mass together, the company can create homogenously colored yarns with 75% less water.

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition 2023 is co-organized by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Textile Information Centre. It will take place alongside Yarn Expo Autumn, CHIC, and PH Value from 28 – 30 August at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). For more details on this fair, please visit


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