Welcome to The Textile Gateway

THE TEXTILE GATEWAY

The FabricLink Network is working with leaders in the textile industry to create The Textile Gateway, to re-energize the textile industry for the future.

The textile industry is moving toward an exciting future, driven by advancements in new technologies and the demand for sustainability.  However, in order for the domestic industry to maintain and grow its global position for the future, it needs to inspire the next generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.  The industry’s relationship with university textile programs is key, but needs to be strengthened through collaboration, mentoring, and outreach.

Many perspective students aren't considering a career in textiles. The industry tends to have a negative image, because of environmental issues, and because so much production has moved offshore with plants closing at home. They are also unaware that the textile industry is much broader than just fashion design.  Research and product development are also a big part of future designs for a wide range of end-use applications and markets.  Therefore, there are growing opportunities for scientists, engineers, and idea-makers, who never thought of being involved with textiles.

While textile programs at some schools remain strong, programs at other schools are under-funded and are contracting or being combined with other departments, such as engineering, art, or business.  There needs to be more communication and collaboration between the industry and the schools.  The industry needs to convey it needs to schools and students to make sure there is real world perspective in school curriculums. The goal is to enrich academic studies with practical insights and real-world experiences to inspire tomorrow's designers, product developers and decision makers.

An outreach program is also vital to inform and generate excitement about future textile industry careers.  The outreach needs to include: elementary & high schools, trade schools, community colleges, and communities at large.  States have Career and Technical Education (CTE) Departments and Family & Consumer Science programs for middle & high schools, but often lack resources regarding textiles and its many career paths.  At this point, little is being done to educate young students about textiles.  The industry and universities need to collaborate on ways to help today’s young student learn about the textile industry and get excited about careers.

The mission of The Textile Gateway is serve as a catylist with the means to address these and other issues. One way is to connect students to textile industry professionals, who share their knowledge and insights through webinars, panel discussions, technical talks, videos, podcasts, interviews, and tours of textile facilities. In addition, help the industry to be active enough at universities, such as serving on advisory boards, offering to be guest speakers, involvement with in-class projects and offering internships. A third goal is to provide an outreach program to educate and and promote careers in the textile industry to younger students and workers who know very little about textiles and the wide range of career opportunities offered in the textile industry.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The Textile Gateway website will be launched in spring 2024 and will focus on connecting the textile industry to two groups of students by providing education, inspiration and outreach to promote career paths.

  • University students in textile programs: and,
  • Elementary and high schools who know little about textiles and it’s many career paths

The FabricLink Network is overseeing the development of this important program.  However, the program is for the benefit of the textile industry.  To be successful, it is essential to have the active support and participation of the industry.

Right now we need your help to provide appropriate educational content for both groups of students.  Content can be in either digital, i.e., videos or podcasts, or in written format.  You will be credited for the content you provide, and can include your company name and logo.

A general guideline for content is provided below, along with examples of possible topics. You are encouraged to provide other content ideas or topics.  All content submitted is subject to approval.  The list of topics is long, but it is not complete, underscoring the significant challenge of collecting educational content. 

Articles & Written Content:

  • Educational
  • Generally 500 to 1,000 words, should include graphics/photographs
  • Animation or embedded video may also be used.

Digital Content - Videos, Podcasts

  • Educational
  • Talks, interviews, narrated show and tell, or discussions
  • Typically about 5 to 10 minutes for elementary school students
  • 10 to 30 minutes for high school students
  • Topics/Ideas - Content should provide education on textiles, the textile industry, or promote career paths.  Content involving your own products is fine.  However, content should be educational and not substantially promotional in nature. 

Some ideas and possible topics to consider are listed below.

Tours of Textile Facilities - Tours should include narration describing the processes being shown. Consider your own products and those of your suppliers. Some examples are listed below. There are many more possibilities.

  • How fiber is produced from start to finish.
  • How textile fibers are spun into yarn
  • How fabric is knit/woven
  • How nonwoven fabric is made
  • How are bio-based fabrics made (example(s))
  • How double sided fabric is made
  • How jacquard fabric is knit/woven
  • How pile fabric is knit/woven
  • How fabric is dyed
  • How finishes are applied to fibers or fabrics
  • How insulation is made
  • How fabric is sewn for apparel, home furnishings, industrial products, etc.
  • Use of computers to create patterns in fabrics
  • How pattern making is done
  • How fabric is cut
  • Equipment and procedures used to test textile properties
  • Other

General Education Topics
Some examples of general topics are listed below.  This is only a partial list to provide an idea of the many educational topics for discussion.

  • Where textiles are present in our lives.
  • Discuss the historic changes in how fabric was made, from hand knit and hand woven fabrics to the development of machines with increasing sophistication.
  • Discuss recent advances in textiles
  • What will future textiles be able to do
  • Describe how a natural textile fiber is grown, processed and made into fabric, i.e., cotton, ramie, wool, alpaca, mohair, cashmere, llama, vicuna, camel.
  • Describe what cellulosic fibers are; what are natural sources; how they are processed
  • Describe how a manufactured fiber is made; what are its components; how is it processed
  • Discuss examples of bio-based textiles, what are they made from, how is it made, what it looks like and where it is used.
  • What are examples different types of knit fabric; how are they made and where are they used
  • What are examples different types of woven fabric; how are they made and  where are they used
  • What are examples different types of non-woven fabric; how are they made and where are they used
  • Discuss the difference between knitted and woven fabric and why each is best for certain uses.
  • Discuss the different uses for textiles, such as apparel, sports, home furnishings, medical, safety/protective, industrial, military, etc.
  • Discuss how fabrics are different in their construction, physical characteristics, such as feel, drapeability, moisture wicking, etc.
  • Discuss why certain fabrics are better suited for different purposes. For example for work clothes, evening gowns, running, yoga, medical, safety and protective, automobiles, etc.
  • Discuss and show examples of how pieces of apparel are made and sewn together.  For example: a simple shirt, pair of shorts, etc.
  • Show how a sweater is knit, how patterns and pictures are knit into fabric, etc.
  • How a pair of socks are knitted with different yarn/patterns to provide durability, comfort, patterns.
  • Offer to provide supplies to local elementary/high/community schools such as fabric swatches, samples showing: the phases of fiber production, different types of knitted or woven fabrics, etc.
  • What to look for in a well-made garment
  • Other

Careers In the Textile Industry
Many students don’t realize there are numerous career path opportunities in the textile industry. 

  • Overview of some of the career opportunities in textiles
  • Take a more detailed look some of the career opportunities in your company. Describe what they do, why they are important, and the skills needed. Add photographs or video clips of someone working at that position
  • The growing need for scientist and engineers in developing future textile innovations
  • The opportunities for technicians: fiber, fabric, dyeing, processing, testing, etc.
  • What is product development; who participates
  • What is cut and sew
  • Include discussion of administration, support staff.

 

Additional Topics - University/College/Trade School Students


Examples of topics include:

  • Recent advances in textiles
  • The future of textiles
  • Discuss your product, what it does, how it works and what end uses it has. Enhance with photographs or video clips.
  • Discuss and show an example of a bio-based textile, what is it made from, how it is made, what it looks like and where it is used.
  • Future changes in the textile industry and its work force
  • The need for scientists and engineers for textile development
  • The growth of bio-based textiles
  • Discuss the difference between knitted and woven fabric and why each is best for certain uses.
  • Discuss how textiles developed for one purpose crossover to other markets
  • Show the difference between circular knitting and flatbed knitting.
  • What is a laminate; what does it do; how is it made; and, examples of where it is used.
  • Combining function and fashion in outdoor apparel
  • Blended textile fibers for comfort, performance & sustainability
  • How to add stretch to a fabric, including mechanical stretch
  • Special capabilities of fabric production machines: knitting, weaving, non-woven
  • Other Topics:
    • Nanotechnology
    • 3D printing
    • Footwear
    • Composite materials
    • Foam
    • Spacer fabrics
    • Narrow fabrics
    • Membranes
    • Insulations
    • Mesh fabric
    • Nonwoven
    • Faux leather/suede/fur
    • Leather
    • University research
    • The rise of bio-based fabrics

Sustainability
Sustainability is critically important to the textile industry and for students to understand. Some examples of topics include:

  • Meaning of cradle to grave
  • Recycling and how its changing the textile industry
  • Eco-logical - understanding certifications
  • What are ways being used to make textiles more sustainable: sourcing, blending, protecting natural resources, reducing water & electricity usage, etc.
  • Problems and solutions involving PTFE and other forever chemicals
  • Ethics in textile
  • Sustainable dyeing
  • What it means to be “green” for today’s consumers
  • Problems with fast fashion
  • What is “green washing”
  • Other

Trends - Some examples of trends to discuss are listed below.  There are other areas where trend discussion are needed.

  • Color
  • Fashion
  • Street wear
  • Outdoor wear
  • Performance wear
  • Sports
  • Home furnishings
  • Industrial textiles
  • Medical
  • Safety & Protective
  • Sustainability
  • Technology driven fashion
  • Smart fabrics
  • Advances in laminates & membranes
  • Other

Supply Chain Issues - The importance of the supply chain cannot be overstated. Some examples for discussion are listed below.  There are also other areas that can be discussed.

  • Describe the basic segments of the textile supply chain
  • Describe the product development process
  • Who drives new product development
  • How & why to partner to create new product developments
  • Innovation drives the market & sales
  • Why a good supply chain is critical for success
  • Current & future challenges to the textile industry
  • How to market textile products in the digital age
  • Quality & price issues
  • How to network
  • Distribution/shipping issues
  • Importance of a business plan

Designer Issues -

  • What does a designer do. What education and skills are needed
  • How to plan your education to become a designer
  • How to choose the right fabric for your specific application
  • Discuss the design process for an apparel or home textile item: understanding the purpose, what properties are needed; selecting the fiber or fiber blend in the fabric; select the construction: knit or a woven fabric; how to provide the desired performance…
  • How to combine function and fashion in design
  • How to create a commercially successful design

Textile Properties
Explain and show individual or groups of properties.  Your own products can be used, but the presentation should not be overly promotional.  Graphics, photos and animation are encouraged.  Some examples are listed below.  There are many more possibilities.

  • Overview of properties
  • Moisture management/wicking
  • Lightweight
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Drapeable
  • Cooling/warming
  • Thermo-regulation
  • Anti-microbial/odor control
  • UV protection
  • Hydrophobic/hydrophilic
  • Durable Water Repellant (DWR)
  • Waterproof/Breathable (WP/BR)
  • Stain resistant
  • Other…

Interviews
Interviews are an effective way to educate.  Some examples for Interviews of company leaders, staff with responsible charge, or junior staff

  • How did you get involved in textiles, by design or fate
  • What do you wish you knew in school but didn’t; what, if anything, would you have done differently
  • What qualities do you look for in a leader
  • What is your corporate philosophy
  • Where do you see the industry going; how will this change the workforce

 

SUBMISSIONS

The general guideline for content is provided above, along with examples of possible topics. Other ideas/topics you have are also welcome.  All submitted content is subject to approval.  

You can submit copies of original content or links to the content. If you have any questions regarding submissions or if you have any other questions or comments about The Textile Gateway program, please contact:

Tom Swantko: toms@fabriclink.com or 310-901-3036

PLEASE STAY CONNECTED

To keep updated on The Textile Gateway, and to be notified about how to participate and support this critically needed program, please send an email to: Director@TheTextileGateway.com

Feel free to share this request with your associates and industry colleagues.

 

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