Heimtextil highlights scalable sustainable solutions
The recent edition of Heimtextil 24, a prominent trade fair showcasing home and contract textiles in Frankfurt, Germany, concluded with remarkable success. The event experienced a notable increase in both exhibitors and visitors, establishing new standards for a sustainable and artificial intelligence-driven textile industry.
Heimtextil 2024 ended with 46,000 visitors from around 130 nations and 2,838 exhibitors from 60 nations with 25 percent growth. With a plus in visitors, the show overcame difficult travel conditions due to nationwide rail strikes and regional demonstrations.
Through a series of discussions, tours, and workshops, Heimtextil also focused on two of the most important key topics of the coming decades: sustainable production and action as well as artificial intelligence.
“Heimtextil ends with overwhelming participation. The increase in space, exhibitors and visitors in 2024 makes the following clear: the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles remains on course for growth – and sets new standards for a sustainable and AI-driven textile industry”, says Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
Heimtextil is an integral part of the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network, dedicated to accelerate innovation and transformation within the textile and fashion sector. The network is committed to advance the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
To do this, the Texpertise Network leverages the extensive reach of its 50+ textile events held globally. The objective is to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across all Messe Frankfurt textile events worldwide – from Frankfurt to New York, Atlanta, Shanghai, and Paris.
The Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network is a proud member of the United Nations Fashion and Lifestyle Network. The network is a dynamic online platform bringing together industry stakeholders, media, governments, and UN system entities to collaborate and showcase responsible business practices guided by the Sustainable Development Goals.
New sensitivity: Transformative textile innovations
The focus of Heimtextil’s 24/25 edition was addressing change at scale. The exhibition presented different transformative textile innovations under the headline “New Sensitivity.”
New Sensitivity in home textiles has been categorized into three different approaches: plant-based, bioengineered, and technological textiles.
In Hall.03 under New Sensitivity, the new cellulosic fibres from fast-rising Scandinavian companies such as Renewcell and Spinnova were heavily featured, alongside natural fibres such as hemp, jute, and wool.
Plant-based: Textiles made from plant crops or plant by-products
The sustainable advantage of plant-based textiles is that their origin is natural and, therefore, more able to recirculate in existing ecosystems.
Among the less popular natural fibres Bananatex® was displayed which is a durable, technical fabric made purely from the naturally grown Abacá banana plants.
Oleatex by Oleago exhibited an alternative leather made from waste derived from the olive oil industry. Oleatex is a plant-based next-generation leather that is 100% vegan, and sustainable innovation for the textile industry. it is crafted from bio-wastes with an awarded formula.
Desertto is another sustainable initiative displayed by Mexican company Adriano Di Marti. It is a plant-based vegan textile derived from the Mexican Nopal cactus and its properties make an alternative to animal leather.
Another sustainable innovation showcased is Banbū Leather by Von Holzhausen. This leather alternative is 83 % plant-based (bamboo), biodegradable in a landfill, yet as supple and durable as leather.
Bioengineered: Engineered to enhance bio-degrading
To a certain degree, bio-engineered textiles represent a fusion of plant-based and technological textiles. Bio-engineering bridges nature and technology and transforms the way textiles are made. We found CiCLO®, Modern Meadow, and NOOSA® under this category.
CiCLO® synthetic textiles behave like natural fibers when they end up as pollutants in the environment. Pillow from Earth & Home using CiCLO® 100 % Polyester staple fiber fill.
The textiles have been embedded with biodegradable spots. These spots act like nutrient sources for microbes that naturally exist in the environment helping the synthetic textile to biodegrade more in comparison to unembedded synthetic textiles.
Modern Meadow produces bio-engineered textiles with the use of nature’s building blocks: proteins. Bio-Tex™ is a coated textile that delivers colour vibrancy and performance while reducing GHG emissions by over 90 % compared to traditional, chrome-tanned leather, based on an LCA.
NOOSA® is another innovative staple fibre that is bioengineered and made from corn. It can be 100 % upcyclable without being deteriorated.
Technological textiles: Technology and technical solutions transforming textiles
Technology can support the transformation of textiles through the use of different methods: upcycling and recycling of textiles, textile construction, and textile design. Due to decades of production, textiles are now a material we have in abundance. Developing technologies for recycling textile waste and methods for upcycling textiles increases the circular usage of existing textiles and thus reduces the need for virgin production.
Jute Globe is a lamp shade made from jute and bioplastic. Design by Mathilde Fly Heegaard from VIA University College, VIA Design and Business. The base is Renewcell Cellulose fibers to be used in their Circulose® process.
Fibre52 is a prepare-for-dye (PFD) and dye technology that retains cotton’s natural properties, resulting in a stronger, kinder fabric. This means the cotton can last longer and be recycled in several loops.
Suntex is a lightweight woven solar textile made by Studio Pauline van Dongen and Tentech. This new material can be used in tensile architecture, textile shading structures and textile façades which can harvest solar energy while providing passive sun shading. Photography by Anna Wetzel.
Dinamica® by Miko is a microfibre made in Italy that resembles suede. It is produced in part by using recycled polyester without the use of organic solvents but using a water-based process.
Future materials by FranklinTill
FranklinTill is a futures research agency working with global brands and organisations to explore and implement design, material and colour innovation. At Heimtextil 2024, FranklinTill showcased globally curated cutting-edge textiles and materials to illustrate the principles of regenerative design.
UK materials science company Ponda makes planet-positive textiles from plant-based raw materials. BioPuff® is a fibre filler material with insulating properties made from bulrush plants grown on wetlands. Created with low-energy, waterless processes, this high-performance product naturally biodegrades in compostable conditions, safely re-entering the environment with a traceable life span.
Led by multidisciplinary designer Jess Redgrave, UK-based Climafibre is working on material solutions for the fashion industry that support regenerative farming and food systems using sunflowers. Using the whole plant, Climafibre produces fibre for textiles from the stem, natural dyes from the flower and water-resistant coatings from sunflower seed oil industry by-products.
Netherlands-based Flocus is creating a responsible supply chain and new uses for kapok, a regenerative, soft organic fibre traditionally used as a stuffing filler. Lightweight, antibacterial, moisture and temperature regulating, Flocus fibre is recyclable and biodegradable, and can be spun into fine yarn or blended with other materials to create more sustainable fashion, interior or industrial textiles.
UK-based Radiant Matter is a material science company creating naturally sparkling and vibrantly coloured materials from highly-renewable cellulose, an abundant polymer found in plants, fruit skins or recycled paper. Inspired by the natural iridescence of peacock feathers and jewel beetles, Radiant Matter’s structurally coloured and shimmering material is created from cellulose. Radiant Matter’s first application, the BioSequin, has captured the excitement of the apparel industry as seen in their partnership with fashion brand Stella McCartney.
US-based innovation platform Keel Labs is exploring the ocean’s regenerative power and potential as a climate-focused material resource, creating a textile industry yarn made from kelp. Its star product Kelsun™ is a seaweed-based yarn created from an abundant polymer found in kelp. A naturally regenerative organism that is easy to grow, kelp absorbs carbon dioxide in the ocean while improving local habitats.
FibreTrace® connects digital traceability with physical technology to track and verify fibres throughout the global supply chain, from raw material to retail store, to reuse and recycling. With a focus on transparency, honesty and accountability, FibreTrace® Verified embeds patented luminescent pigment markers within raw fibres, which are then tracked and verified with unique scanning devices in real-time, and recorded as a digital twin.
“Econogy” combines economy and ecology at Heimtextil
“Econogy” stands for all sustainability activities of Messe Frankfurt’s Texpertise Network across international trade fairs and provides orientation. The term “Econogy” combines economy and ecology in one word and shows how decisive sustainability is today for the economic success of a company. For more than ten years now, Heimtextil has been promoting this theme using a series of measures and giving green pioneers a platform.
Swedish-based TreeToTextile Technology™ exhibits its new generation of bio-based cellulose fiber. Supported by it’s strong owners H&M Group, Inter IKEA Group, Stora Enso and LSCS Invest, it has developed and commercialized a new innovative cellulosic fiber. The fiber has a dry, cotton-like hand feel, a semi-dull luster and high drapability, like viscose. It is versatile and has a strong potential to complement or replace both cotton and viscose as stand alone or in blends, depending on application.
Its unparallelled environmental footprint and functionality, makes the fiber among the top choices on a global scale, helping the textile industry to accelerate the transition to net zero. The process uses less chemicals, allowing for a more sustainable and cost-efficient process compared to conventional technologies and fibers.
Artificial Intelligence in textile product design
Never before have transformations such as artificial intelligence and sustainability been so intensively at the center of Heimtextil and presented effective levers for a future-oriented approach to key technology. For the first time in 2024, the trade fair provided fascinating insights into the textile application of artificial intelligence and the use of AI-controlled sorting to refine recycled textile waste into new yarns. In the trend space, visitors’ textile design ideas were also brought to life at interactive stations using tools such as ChatGPT-4 and Midjourney.
In addition, Heimtextil once again made state-of-the-art sustainable production and action tangible. One of the main points of contact were the Heimtextil Trends with New Sensitivity: the concept focused on the ongoing transformation of the textile industry and presented numerous market-ready and scalable solutions. One example was the company Ever Dye, whose self-developed color pigments enable dyeing at room temperature. Variant 3D, on the other hand, offers AI-driven knitting software that can be used to produce even complex shapes such as lampshades without creating patterns.
This year, Heimtextil also announced a partnership with Studio Urquiola for 2025 and emphasized their joint commitment to innovation, sustainability, and design in the textile industry.
Messe Frankfurt (lit. ’Frankfurt Trade Fair’) is one of the world’s largest trade fairs, congress and event organizers with its exhibition grounds. The organization has more than 2,300 people at 28 locations around the globe. Its services include renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the federal state of Hesse (40 percent).