Entering 2024, the concept of sustainability has taken on a more comprehensive meaning that goes beyond environmental protection to also include social and cultural impacts. This theme underscored this year’s Heimtextil – one of the world’s largest trade shows for home and contract textiles.
Held between 9-14 January at the Frankfurt Messe, Heimtextil 2024 aimed to close the loop on sustainability and market relevance by addressing two significant aspects: sustainable production and action, and the integration of artificial intelligence in the textiles industry.
The Trend Space, led by the theme of “New Sensitivity”, featured four colourways inspired by plant-based hues: Spiced Carole (Pantone 17-1644 TCX), Mediterranean (Pantone 19-4517 TCX), Reed Yellow (Pantone 13-0915 TCX), and Toasted Nut (Pantone 16-1327 TCX). These shades, derived from natural sources such as avocado seeds, algae, living bacteria, and bio-engineered pigments such as indigo and cochineal, are designed to evoke our senses and connect us with the earth.
Innovative showcases of ecological dyeing were also a highlight. A UK-based company, for instance, has harnessed DNA sequencing to create sustainable, non-toxic dyes, while a French tech start-up has developed an energy-efficient dyeing process using natural pigments that work at room temperature to help reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
In terms of materials, the landmark event provided a glimpse into the future of regenerative textile design. With a vision to minimise harm to our planet, the show featured materials such as fibrous substances from agave leaves, bulrush plant fillers, and nanocellulose-based biomaterial fabrics – all sustainable alternatives to traditional textiles.
Also under the spotlight this year was artificial intelligence. Tools such as ChatGPT and Midjourney are now playing big roles in textile production – from enabling the design of custom fabrics on-demand to assisting in textile sorting and creating textile designs – they are contributing to a more sustainable and efficient industry future.
Heimtextil 2024 received an impressive 46,000 visitors from 130 nations and 2,838 exhibitors from 60 nations, marking a 25% growth from the previous year thanks in part to the new Carpets & Rugs hall. The trade show continues to be a leading source for home textiles, offering a wide range of products from upholstery and decorative fabrics to bed and bathroom textiles, mattresses, functional textiles, and more.