About sustainable innovations and the future of the sector.

MUNICH FABRIC START provides a glimpse of the future of the sector with its Sustainable Innovations. You have curated the Showcases. What are the most important overarching developments in terms of sustainability and textiles?

What I have observed is that more and more designers are taking a holistic approach rather than focusing on just one small area. They are starting to ask questions about the value chain and as a result develop ideas on how the system behind the products can be made smarter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. I think we have entered an era where it is important and increasingly possible to link different disciplines – regardless of whether it is architecture, automotive, outdoor or healthcare sectors.

How do the Sustainable Innovations Showcases feature these developments?

Let’s take “Visleer Foundation” as an example: Nyvidd is one of the leading European trading agencies for fish leather. Cees van de Ven, the owner of Nyvidd, however, did not content himself with just selling the product. He wondered how he might contribute to further optimizing the quality of this leather. Which is why he established the Visleer Foundation so as to support research in to sustainable tanning and dyeing processes. This is why the Foundation
recently cooperated with the Growing Patterns Team, another Sustainable Innovations Showcase, to explore bacteria-based dyeing methods for fish leather. By collaborating with designers and building an expert network the Visleer Foundation is also raising public awareness about the topic, thereby strengthening the market position of this sustainable alternative to leather and promoting improvements in the value chain.

From leather alternatives like pine skin, cow stomach or fish skin to dying processes with bacteria – the projects open up new perspectives. What is the vision underlying the Sustainable Innovations Showcases?

I hope that the work done by designers will also inspire other fields and manufacturers to explore more and more new approaches and novel materials thereby contributing to a sustainable planet at the end of the day. It should be normal to not only take but also give something back.