Global fibre consumption is more than eighty million tons and has a growth rate of 3% per year, following the increase in world population and the growth in textile consumption per capital. The apparel and furnishing sectors have been the main end uses for textile materials for years, but nowadays, thanks to innovation and technology transfer resulting from advances of science, textiles are finding a number of much wider applications in areas highly diversified such as civil engineering, transportation, agriculture, medical protection, sport, etc.
The increasing number of applications, in parallel with the growth of per capita consumption, makes the textile industry face with the need to contain the environmental impact resulting from the production of fibres, both natural and man-made, and their manufacturing process, up to the analysis of the product life cycle, to help reduce the volume of waste and increase a circular economy. In this context, new requirements and the need for professional profiles able to meet these new requirements are emerging also in the textile sector. Especially for the clothing and furnishing sector, design has always been considered an important element for the success of many types of products, in particular for aesthetic aspects. And today, in the global market, in a different competitive scenario, facing the aggressive competition from low labour cost countries’ producers, the design is taking on a new role that, together with the evolution of the materials, is of crucial importance: in fact material innovation is not leading only to an improvement of the functional quality of the textile, but is also favoring an increase in the creative potential of the design phase.
Thanks to design it is possible to interpret and transform ideas developed at technology level, in products to be launched on the market and able to meet the more and more specific needs of the market, and among these, there is an increasing demand for sustainable products. We live in a time when the earth’s resources are used faster than they can be regenerated, and all the actors involved in the various stages of the production system are called upon to contribute to creating the conditions for obtaining a low environmental impact of production. A contribution that must also come from those operating in the design phase of new products. A contribution that does not consider only the aesthetic or functionality requirements, but in the phase of material selection, production processes and planning of their use, is based on knowledge, development and implementation of guidelines for greater sustainable production, in terms of resources used, reduction of energy, water consumption and air emissions, and finally not disregarding the importance of the development of a circular economy.