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Demand for comfortable, stylish and sustainable flame-resistant apparel spurs innovation


Buoyed by strong growth prospects, flame-resistant apparel manufacturers are focused on developing flame-resistant apparel that is comfortable, stylish, sustainable and innovative

This is according to a report in issue 65 of Performance Apparel Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.

Demand for flame-resistant apparel is forecast to grow by 6.5 per cent per annum between 2018 and 2027, and healthy growth is also forecast for flame-resistant fabrics, fibres and chemicals.

Growth will be partly due to increased demand in the Asia-Pacific region and in South America, where a spur is set to take place in infrastructure projects, and in the Middle East, where the oil and gas industry is set to grow.

At the same time, many industries – including motor racing and the power industry – are becoming increasingly concerned about worker safety, reflecting the implementation of more stringent safety standards.

Reflecting the potential for growth in these markets, a number of manufacturers are investing in new technologies to enable them to produce high-quality flame-resistant apparel that is also fashionable, comfortable and provides a number of additional performance properties, such as breathability and moisture management.

To take advantage of these growing markets, manufacturers are developing flame-resistant denim fabrics and fabrics that are thinner, lighter, and have a soft handle. They are also developing mid-range fabrics that are suitable for flame-resistant covers.

Meanwhile, several companies are questioning the environmental sustainability of their products and avoiding the use of flame retardant treatments that contain toxic or bioaccumulative chemicals.

Initial investigations are being carried out into the incorporation of recycled materials into flame-resistant fabrics. Such investigations, however, pose a significant challenge, not least because of the high costs associated with research and development. In many cases, achieving environmental sustainability is difficult without sacrificing protection, which must remain paramount.

Aside from market growth, the development of comfortable, stylish and sustainable flame-resistant apparel is considered to be particularly important as their availability will encourage workers to wear the protective apparel they are recommended to wear under hazardous conditions.