The Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 edition of Milano Unica shows that sustainability in fashion is marking new standards for competitiveness and growth. The Italian trade show of entrepreneurs (and for entrepreneurs) once again put a spotlight on smart materials and sustainable innovation with its 29th edition on July 9th - 11th. Read more about the trends and highlights of the trade show below:
Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 Trends: Ecorotica
The world of art, cinema, and photography collect the references for Milano Unica's Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 trend report, Ecorotica. A mix of eroticism and sustainability, the area is divided into three different themes exploring hedonism, pleasure, and respect for the planet. The themes are:
Materials and fabrics rich in finishes and treatments are part of this theme. Lightweight lurex yarns, iridescent sequins, and animal prints like python and crocodile in faded versions. FunctionalPerformance fabrics also have their space with technical waterproof textiles. Faux fur appears with short-hair, either in bright or opaque shades, aiming to be super realistic. On the shirts, abstract designs in grey and black patterns or micro-stripes in geometric designs. The eroticism shows in transparency through many materials: lace in ton sur ton versions and new geometric designs, and tulles and meshes ranging from wavy to luminous. Ecorotic Drama is all about geometric, futuristic, and abstract patterns. Trims, including buttons, are romantic, metallic, and with a vintage feel.
Lightweight lurex adds spark and shimmer to the Ecorotic Drama trend. Credit: Image courtesy of Milano Unica
This theme is about being bright and bold -- if not eccentric -- featuring lots of solid colour, metal bases and fancy fabrics. Macro pied-de-poule and check, block colour and graphic animal prints for the outerwear. For the shirts, unusual combinations of colours and patterns, such as diagonal stripes, irregular check designs, and waves. Faux fur is thick and faded, very soft and in bright colors, and technology comes in the treatments derived from activewear. Inlay details or pictorial treatments come across many fabrics, including jacquard, which presents irreverent designs with optical and lurex stripes. Trims include tubes and fringes with golden details. Irreverent details also feature in zippers.
Drum rolls, please! The Ecorotic Circus trend is playful, with bold combinations of bright colours and fun references like the diamond shapes. Credit: Image courtesy of Milano Unica
Nature leads the way on the third and final theme of Milano Unica's "Ecorotica". The colour palette comes from nature, with different shades of green or prints like camouflage or wood-inspired graphics. Fabrics include brocade, bouclé, mohair wool -- softness is also a characteristic of this theme, both in materials and colours. Natural inspiration also presents itself in 3d jacquard motifs with fringes or floating yarns -- long-hair materials with mohair wool yarns are blended with viscose or acrylic, making softness a staple for the winter season. Lamination with matt or iridescent effects, and water repellents and waterproofs have been reinterpreted with double vertically stitched matelassé, for example, standing between the natural and futuristic. Even artisanal techniques have space in Ecorotic Eden, with macramè featuring fil coupé designs. Trims are often in wood effects or are given a natural look.
Nature takes the front seat at Ecorotic Eden trend, with floral and foliage motifs on fabrics and accessories. Credit: Image courtesy of Milano Unica
Milano Unica: Sustainable Innovation
With exciting numbers, more than 2/3 of the samples presented at Milano Unica used sustainable processes. 67% of samples presented certifications or standards regarding the absence of hazardous chemicals, for example. 40% of them used recycled materials as well, representing a substantial move towards a circular economy.
Sustainable Innovation, an area focused on smart materials and innovation to drive the textile industry further. Sustainability doesn't mean basic or simple creations. Credit: Image courtesy of Milano Unica
The third year of the Sustainability Project, a special area for sustainable materials inside Milano Unica saw, once again, a significant rise in numbers: 150 exhibitors with over 1.000 samples of sustainable materials, processes, and treatments on display. This shows how much the demand for sustainability and transparency has increased and will continue to. The Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 edition of the Sustainability Project was divided into two areas: "FancyGreen", featuring more creative content, and "EverGreen", displaying more classic pieces. The aim was to deconstruct the prejudice around sustainability: it's not only suitable only for basic fabrics or designs!
If you couldn't fly to Milan, these are the fashion innovations that caught our eye:
Biopile: Zero Microplastics Fleece
Italian Pontetorto is a pioneer when it comes to tackling the microplastics problem. Its pile fleece, Biopile, has its inner side constructed with 100% Tencel™ instead of polyester, making it completely biodegradable. The outer surface is made with 100% recycled polyester, and Pontetorto states that if any fleece particles do release during a washing process, they should decompose in 90 days, avoiding pollution and contamination.
Kitotex®: Clean Textile Finishing
CanepaEvolution is creating an exciting process to improve the sustainability of textile finishing. The patented Kitotex® method consists of chitosan, a biodegradable substance made from recycled exoskeleton of crustaceans (a byproduct of the food industry) -- and it can replace PVA and acrylic resins used for reinforcing yarns like cashmere and silk.
Chitosan not only allows for a slower washing temperature (30-40 degrees instead of 70-80°C) but also dramatically reduces the use of chemical agents as well, reducing both water and energy consumption by 95%. The substance adds other properties to the finished yarn as well, such as anti-static and antibacterial ones.
Textile finishing can be one of the most dangerous ones to the environment and consumer health, and it's great to see initiatives like Kitotex® at Milano Unica bringing more sustainability to the fashion supply chain.
Is our future sustainable? The Sustainability Project engages and promotes the manufacturers making a difference in the fashion industry and the environment. Credit: Image courtesy of Milano Unica
Like Interfilière, Milano Unica and other trade shows are more focused on bringing sustainable solutions to the fashion and textile industry, endorsing a positive and much-needed change of direction in the way business models function. If you can’t travel around the world to source your materials, send your requests to our concierges who will find your dream fabrics, materials, and trims for you: sign up now.