What is Textile?



Textile is everywhere in our lives, from home linens to curtains to interiors to automobile interiors to office/workplace linens and interiors to our clothes and so on, the most common thing in our day-to-day life is textiles. The simple meaning of textile is woven fabric or woven material, it is derived from the Latin word, textiles, which means woven. Fibers, yarns, fabrics, clothes/RMG, home textiles, etc. are part of the textile value chain.   Generally, textiles are manufactured through either weaving or knitting – in the weaving process the warp thread is at the base and the weft thread is woven under and over the warp thread, that is how the fabric is created, weavers can design different designs using this technique. In the knitting process fibers are interlocked to create a base fabric. Knitted textiles may also go through the process of felting, wherein heat applies. You can read my previous article about general info on textiles. 

what is textile
what is textile

History of Textiles: 

In ancient times, textiles were probably made of natural fibers or plant-based, such as jute, cotton, hemp, flax, and wool, etc., later man-made fibers or synthetic fibers were invented such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, and we see the rise of technical textiles (includes geotextiles, industrial textiles, agro textiles, automotive textiles and so on).  

Segments of Textile:

Organic/plant-based textiles, animal-based textiles, synthetic textiles (man-made), and technical textiles. 

Organic Textile: The raw materials are derived after processing from plants such as cotton, khadi, jute, linen, and hemp. 

Animal-based textile: The raw materials are derived after processing from the animals such as wool, fur, silk, and cashmere. 

Man-made textile: The raw materials are derived after processing cellulose or chemical synthesis. Such as polyester, viscose, nylon, synthetic and more. 

Technical textile: Textile materials and products are engineered for specific applications; they are beyond traditional textiles. 

The Processes of Textile:

processes of textile
processes of textile

Raw materials: Raw materials can be natural or man-made, it is a base for preparing textiles. 

Fiber: It is a fine hairlike substance, grouped and twisted together into a continuous strand called yarns. Fibers can also be segregated into natural fiber or man-made fiber. 

Yarn: Continuous length of fibers that are arranged in a form suitable for weaving or knitting to make the fabric.

Fabric: Woven or knitted material or cloth to be used for garments, home textile products, accessories, and many other purposes. Fabrics are available in many varieties organic, man-made, technical, etc. 

After the fabric is ready, the next process is to make garments or home textile products or accessories, or any other ready-to-use products can be developed. Other important components in textile making are dyes & chemicals, machinery & spare parts, inspections, IT & software, etc. 

Textile Compliances and Regulations:

In the journey of textile development, it is very important to know about various regulations, compliances, acts, and laws, few of them are below, on top of these, many countries also have their own regulations. 

Textile Compliances and Regulations
Textile Compliances and Regulations
  • Chemical safety regulations
  • Supply Chain Act
  • Environmental impact
  • Green Claims
  • Labeling requirements
  • Labor Prevention Act
  • Fair labor practices
  • Flammability standards
  • Market access and competitiveness
  • Transparency Act
  • Digital Product Passport
  • Textile Labelling Regulations 
  • Consumer trust and sustainability

Size of The Global Textile Industry: 

The global textile market is estimated to reach around USD 3000 billion by 2030, whereas India is projected to reach around USD 350 billion by 2030. Textiles provide the largest employment opportunity around the world.  

Top Exporting and Producing Countries: 

Top Exporting and Producing Countries
Top Exporting and Producing Countries

The top largest textiles exporting countries are China, Germany, India, Italy, Bangladesh, Turkey, Vietnam and Indonesia, and the USA. Top producing countries are China, India, USA, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Brazil and South Korea. You can read my article about top largest textile companies in the world. 

Textile Machinery: 

Textile machineries
Textile machineries

There is a huge segment of textiles machinery as well, Germany, China, Japan, and India are dominating the machinery manufacturing of all types of machines such as ginning, spinning, weaving, knitting, garmenting, embroidery, dyeing & finishing, packing, inspection and many more. Many start-ups are associated with this industry directly or indirectly, bringing scalable business models or innovative products to the consumers. You can read my article for more info about the most innovative and smart fabrics. 

Events and Associations:

Events and Associations
Events and Associations

There have been many advancements and modernizations in the global textile industry, use of digitalization, AI, smart technologies, etc. has improved the quality and quantity of textile supply chain products. This industry also has many leading trade shows/events for networking and development, such as Messe Frankfurt, one of the leading textile trade show organizers, few shows are dedicated to any specific segment and few shows cover all the segments. Associations play an important role in representing the industry on a global canvas as well as the country-specific, such as the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA), The Textile Association (India), The Swedish Textile Machinery Association (TMAS), The European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX) and many more.  

Impact on Environment and Sustainability in The Textile Industry: 

textile industry effects
textile industry effects

With such a large industry, it is also the most polluting industry in the world, 20% of all worldwide freshwater pollution is caused by textile treatment and dyeing. Sustainable textiles are the need of the hour across the world. Many brands prefer only sustainable textile materials to be used in their collections, which encourages the manufacturers to adhere to all the norms and regulations within their production cycles without harming the environment. Green clothing, water-less dyeing, using natural resources, reduction of carbon footprint, animal-friendly and environment-friendly textiles, recycled textiles, and re-use of textiles are very important aspects of this industry, and we hope that the industry progresses positively on these fronts. 

Where to Study Textiles?

There are many top colleges to study textiles – the courses mainly cover textile making, textile engineering, and textile designing. Append is the list of some of the top colleges in the world offering various programs under textile study.

 study textiles
study textiles
  • National Institute of Designing (NID) – India
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) – India
  • University of Leeds – UK
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – USA
  • Technical University of Munich (TUM) – Germany
  • Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) – Netherlands 
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University – Australia
  • For information about fashion-specific education, read this article. 
Bhargav Pathak
Bhargav Pathakhttps://textilesresources.com
With a passion for the textile, apparel, and fashion industry, I embarked on a journey fueled by education from NIFT Gandhinagar and affiliation with NDBI at NID Ahmedabad. Since 2006, I've contributed to various corporate ventures, specializing in B2B, B2C, SaaS, and AI products within the textile domain. In July 2023, I launched TextilesResources.com, a knowledge hub offering the latest news, articles, and soon-to-come features like interviews and a trade fair calendar. Grateful for the growing community, we've recently introduced a Business Directory for enhanced visibility. Join us on LinkedIn and stay connected with the ever-evolving textile landscape!

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