Matilda McQuaid is the head of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Textiles Department:
“Smart textiles still have a long way to go. Wearability and durability haven’t developed as fast as they might have, at least in home textiles. I anticipate a return to natural fibers. People have a desire to know where things came from, and the tactility of natural fibers is desired. There is going to be greater interest in sustainable, eco-friendly products. Bamboo is fairly labor intensive, unlike organic cottons, for example. The issue will be how we can produce enough of it.”
Mark Pollack is design director of textile manufacturer Pollack in New York City:
“The use of synthetics will fall in direct correlation to the rise in oil prices, and we’ll be seeing a greater cultivation—–in an environmentally friendly way—–of such natural fibers as bamboo, soy, and corn. Textiles add so much to an interior—–comfort, warmth, color, pattern, things you can’t duplicate. Things are so watered down now; so little of the real is left to latch onto. I also think wovens will be bigger than prints. A pattern in a woven is so much more integral; it’s satisfying. There is a marriage of material, structure, and pattern you don’t get in a printed fabric.”
Amy Helfand is a rug designer in Brooklyn, New York, who produces her work through GoodWeave to help end child labor in the rug industry:
“I look forward to the time when the carpet industry is free of all child labor, and when all children in South Asia are offered schooling and books, along with vocational training or opportunities for higher education. I also hope that the conversation will come to include not only concerns about fair labor but also more general issues about sustainability and the environment. It’s still very primitive in many textile factories. They are heating giant pots over wood fires to dye wool. Those fires make for poor air quality. And water quality from dye runoff is still a problem. It’s all connected.”
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