After a few weeks running around Asia, from Mumbai to Beijing and Singapore to Tokyo, one of the areas that is attracting the most attention is the merger between nanotechnologies and textiles.
We are not just talking about stain resistant shirts here, and the embedding of sensors and electronics is really catching the imagination, with almost every government we talk to flagging this as a high interest area, along with a whole range of non apparel related applications, from medical to structural.
Back in Europe and the US , Chinese textile quotas have been hitting the headlines in the last few months, with companies trying to innovate themselves up the value chain, and we will be examining both sides of the issue in two global conferences over the coming month.
AsiaFutureTex in Singapore on October 20th provides an Asian perspective, while EuroFutureTex in Padua, Italy on November 8th and 9th looks at the European and US attempts to innovate and invigorate traditional industries.
A well-worn adage in investing circles is that the most value is to be captured where different disciplines and markets meet. In this case, a seven thousand year old industry is colliding with a technological revolution, at least in the field of materials.
It’s a pretty safe bet that given the pace of innovation across the sector, stain resistant nanotech pants will be as relevant to the fashion and textile industry of the 21st century as powdered periwigs were to the 20th century.