Traditional textile techniques, such as knitting, weaving and embroidery are being combined with new materials to produce new high-performance products. These are broadly known as technical textiles and are used in a wide variety of spheres, from medical equipment and surgical devices to sportswear. Many of the products have major industrial potential.
In contrast to traditional textiles, the technical performance and physical properties of a product are more important than features such as style or colour. However, the core textile technologies are common to both traditional and technical textiles and the latter have been identified as the route to survival for a number of clothing and textile companies in the UK, where the traditional manufacturing base has long been in decline.
The Clothworkers have provided support for an industry group and fund postgraduate bursaries in technical textiles at Leeds and Manchester. In addition, we have made a number of grants to projects involving the use of technical textiles in medical applications.