“Heimtextil is a key platform for the industry and here people are coming together from 130 countries and they are looking for new designs and sustainable solutions,” says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt.
Sustainability remains a major theme at Heimtextil and the industry is focused on this mission. Green and regenerative aspects are at the forefront of the industry’s agenda, as pioneers used Heimtextil as a platform to share their innovations.
“New Sensitivity” will be the overarching trend theme for the next year. “This is based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, to which Messe Frankfurt is committed at the corporate level,” explains Schmidt.Sensitivity is often related to touch and feel, but it is also broader as it is showing purpose to what is being created while respecting the surroundings with sustainable development growth goals.
“We are now beginning to see companies and making things in a better way to address such critical issues as biodiversity and climate crisis,” says Anja Bisgaard Gaede, founder of Denmark-based Spott Trends who consults Heimtextil and organized its Trends exhibition.
Artificial Intelligence is Transformational
Another burgeoning area of interest is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) which is transforming current times. “AGI is fundamentally redefining the economy, markets and industries,” says Schmidt. “It is a key topic of conversation here and Heimtextil is a wonderful meeting platform exactly to both keep in touch and to see what the home textile is doing worldwide.”
The use of AGI needs to be done in a responsible, sensitive way, especially with how natural ecosystems work and balance must be prioritized, says Gaede of Spott Trends. According to Gaede, AGI has the potential to bring innovative solutions and help tackle significant challenges in the textile industry. “But we need to consider its impact when making a decision or creating a product,” she adds.The future of design was seen at Heimtextil at an AI Interactive exhibit created by Danish XR Company MANND. At an interactive design station, the user can employ the AI Assistant powered by ChatGPT-4 to create a textile design with a specific purpose, such as for a residential, commercial or hospitality project. With the help of a design tool, the user selects a color palette and design motif and instantly see their creation in a simulated environment, such as it would appear a hotel lobby, for example.
Mega-Trends in the MakingMany forward-looking textiles were seen at the fair, many of which are destined to become global mega-trends. “When asked what is the future of textiles, it is really about what the textile is made of, not only what it is looking like,” says Gaede. “So we have pivoted away from focusing solely on the aesthetic side to the compositional side because that is where we see the future is going in order to create a better textile future.”
Heimtextil featured the growing use of plant-based textiles, which offer a sustainable advantage because their origin is natural and able to recirculate in existing ecosystems. Plant crops that are resilient and offer new sustainable textile solutions include cactus, hemp, abaca, seaweed, and rubber. Likewise, the growing use of plant-based byproducts to make textiles was showcased at the fair, such as those made with the leftover raw materials from banana, olive, persimmon and hemp-based products.Bananatex, the world’s first durable, technical, biodegradable and plastic-free fabric, for example, is made entirely from Abaca banana plants. Certified vegan, Bananatex is cultivated in the Philippines within an ecosystem of sustainable forestry. Interestingly, the plants require no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water.
Another plant-based alternative, PersiSkin, can be used in place of animal leather as well as PVC substitutes that are very contaminating. PersiSkin, which looks and feels like leather, is made with persimmon fruits that otherwise would be wasted due to overproduction. It is suitable for footwear, apparel, decoration and was also approved for use in the automotive industry.The leaves from the agave plant, a type of cactus used to make tequilla, can be used to produce sisal, a fibrous material that can be used as a textile. Product designer Fernando Laposse is creating sisal made from the agave plant. Growing agave in a network of trenches enables farmers in Mexico to capture water and repopulate fields, while at the same time, the agave leaves can be used to produce the sisal used in manufacturing Laposse’s striking furniture. Rolefin is a revolutionary method to turn textile materials and waste into elegant yarns. Developed by Istanbul, Turkey-based KETS, recycled yarn is produced with zero water while recycling various types of waste materials from the production process. Rolefin’s yarns are both sustainable and luxurious. Dutch designer Sanne Visser of Studio Sanne Visser focuses on material innovation, sustainability and future thinking. In 2022, Visser began to explore human hair as a local waste stream and recycled material resource in a project called “Locally Grown”.
Collaborating with a community of hairdressers and barbershops in the United Kingdom, she redesigned a barber’s chair to catch hair as it is cut. She also developed a system to sort and categorize hair. Creating hair wool and handspun yarn using traditional rope making techniques, hair fibers are used to manufacture woven textiles.
Technology in TextilesFamed Italian architect and designer Paola Navone of Studio OTTO has re-vamped the iconic Thermo Coperta blankets, a natural tech product developed by LaneRossi. Made with 100% virgin wool, the design of the blanket includes rounded corners and velvet edges, iconic elements of Lanerossi blankets of the past but with an updated design.
Thermo Coperta is a special patented technology that was developed by Lanerossi in the 1950’s. The Termo Coperto blankets are the only woolen blankets capable of keeping the body at 37°C, the perfect temperature for psychophysical well-being. The blankets are made with a double-pile structure, consisting of two layers of fine wool that surround an inner layer made with larger wool yarn. This design creates an air chamber that prevents cold air from penetrating while containing heat.
In 2025, Heimtextil will take place from January 14 to January 17. The textile fair will partner with Milan-based design powerhouse, Studio Urquiola, to create a unique and momentous design installation curated by the studio and led by famed Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. Studio Urquiola was founded in 2001 by Patricia Urquiola and her partner, Alberto Zontone, and operates in the fields of industrial product design, architecture, art direction and strategy consulting.
“Together with Studio Urquiola, we aim to showcase an immersive, sustainable textile and interior design experience at Heimtextil 2025,” says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge