Sustainability is a huge part of our brand, from how we design and develop our products to how we continually strive to evolve the lifecycle of each design. So, it isn’t surpassing that when we heard about Camira’s sustainable ‘Oceanic fabric’ we were keen to learn more about it!
Do you take most of your inspiration from the environment? Or are there other influences that drive your fabric development?
Like many designers, we’re constantly looking ahead to emerging trends for inspiration and insight into the next big thing, drawing inspiration from art, culture, architecture, technology, socio-demographic trends, and many other areas. Looking at design through both a macro and micro lens, we stay ahead of the game by visiting trade fairs, art exhibitions and cultural events – compiling these into our own internal trend reports. As an extension of this, we work with leading trend consultancies and layer these ideas into our vision.
Proud of our British roots, we also take inspiration from our local surroundings. Being based in God’s own county, Yorkshire, we often find ourselves looking to our local landscape and natural resources for inspiration.
Whichever lens we look through, our customer is always at the forefront of our design process. No matter what application we’re designing for, quality and performance requirements are always a main driver of our fabric development.
In summary, what does the process of transforming a plastic bottle into a beautiful upholstery material look like?
In a nutshell, the plastic waste collected by the Mediterranean fishermen is sorted into polymer types, washed, shredded and extruded into a polymer chip. This is sent to our yarn supplier, who add other post-consumer recycled PET chip derived from waste plastic bottles which have been diverted from landfill. The chips are melted and then extruded into yarn. The yarn is texturised before being sent to Camira for weaving into the final fabric.
Tell us more about the texture of the fabric? Can it be used in all settings?
Oceanic is our own chunky heavier weight polyester. Distinctive in design, this diagonal pattern creates a bold contrast of colour when up close as there is a cationic yarn in the weft which creates a two-tone colour effect. From afar, the diagonal appears much softer as the colours blend into one.
As tough as the seas it was made, it can be used for both task seating and soft seating upholstery.
In the interior industry, we have seen many brands predict 2020 colour trends that are very influenced by nature and we are seeing a lot of earthy palettes emerging, is this something you are seeing in fabrics too?
As we transition to a ‘new normality’ post COVID-19, we expect ‘less is more’ to become an overarching trend. Going back to basics, we anticipate streamlined yet tasteful neutral palettes to be adopted, allowing customers to coordinate with existing collections and schemes. For us, this means focusing on creating timeless, quality products that ensure longevity. Sustainable thinking and materiality will take on even more importance. As we develop our collections for 2020/2021, we are underpinning these with the very notion outlined above.
Many people want to adopt much more sustainable lifestyles, so what would your best advice be to people when choosing fabrics that are better for our environment?
First and foremost, we understand that when designing for commercial use, durability is key. We have factored this into our sustainable ranges, which means that specifiers can be assured that by opting for a natural or recycled environmentally friendly alternatives, we’ve also tested these fabrics for durability and how they’ll cope with heavy traffic. For added peace of mind, they all come with a 10 year guarantee of wearability.
Natural materials, such as wool and plant based fibres, are both rapidly renewable and biodegradeable. We’re pioneers of bast fibre fabrics, which is a category of textiles where wool is blended with harvested plant fibre from nettles, hemp and flax. This creates the ultimate environmental fabric which is inherently flame retardant to the UK’s higher level flammability standard for public spaces, Crib 5 Medium Hazard, without the need for any added chemicals.
Are there any other ways in which we can be more pro-active to extend the lifespan of our fabrics, whether that be at home or in commercial spaces?
Yes, it’s quite simple really. We just need to look after our fabrics through simple care and maintenance. We should vacuum them regularly to remove dust and grit which can act like sandpaper to abrade the fabric. And we should get to and spills or stains quickly, using a damp cloth. There are also various upholstery shampoos available and some fabrics can be dry cleaned by specialist cleaning providers. In commercial spaces in particular, choose both composition and colours carefully depending on the end-use area. For some areas, such as canteens, consider wipeable fabrics with stain repellent finishes.
And finally, can we expect more exciting sustainable creations from Camira any time soon?
Looking to the future, we continue to innovate in naturally sustainable materials, not only expanding our wool-bast fibre fabric portfolio, but introducing new recycled fabrics, new materials and new concepts such as cork and a British Wool fleece available on a roll. We are also pushing the boundaries in our technical knitting capability to be able to use recycled polyester in the innovative ShrinKnit process using patented Shrinx technology. And we continue to look to create a circular business model whereby we take back our wool off-cuts from furniture upholstery and upcycle it into a commercial furnishing fabric.