Recent advances in technology have brought together the apparel, technology, and textile industries to develop new capabilities in fabrics with the potential to change how athletes, patients, soldiers, first responders, and everyday consumers interact with their clothes and other textile products. Known as ‘smart fabrics’, these new high-tech products have the capability to interact with their user or environment, including tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns. The applications for this new technology are broad, with most smart fabric product development seen in the fields of defense, fitness, health, and public safety.
In the upcoming years, the smart fabrics industry will continue to make technological advances and expand into new, untapped markets. The world market for smart clothing is projected to grow from a base of $17.2 million in 2013 to approximately $600 million by 2020, according to research firm Tractica LLC.
The Industrial Fabrics Association International is the leading trade organization representing the advanced textiles industry. Founded in 1912, IFAI represents over 1500 member companies including manufacturers and suppliers of smart fabrics, shade fabrics and other specialty textiles.
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