Textiles are often referred to as fabrics that are woven or knitted from yarn. However, any product that is created from fibers, yarn, or fabrics make up textile design. Finished products come in many different types of products from clothing to home decor. The textile industry encompasses all the steps from research to distribution of these items.
This industry was born in the 1700’s with the creation of many life-changing inventions. These included the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, and the power loom. This was able to transition the production of textiles from at home by individuals to being able to mass produce them. Many more success contributed to the evolution of the industry by the mid-1800’s, Elias Howe’s sewing machine being the main component.
This day in age, the textile industry is world wide and is comprised of every part of business. Research, development, production, manufacturing, and distribution are all necessary steps. This industry is extremely complex as it all begins with agriculture. Fibers are created from natural sources, such as cotton, and from there these fibers need to be processed into yarns and fabrics. Many processes exist such as knitting mills and dyeing mills.
The first step into processing textiles is spinning. This step allows fibers to be transformed into yarn. This is called either a filament or staple. Filament is a long continuous strand, whereas staple is a short length of fiber. Once the spinning process is complete, then weaving must begin. This process actually dates back to thousands of years ago. Weaving allows yarn to be interlaced to build a durable fabric. In order to interlace fabric, three processes need to be completed. These are shedding, picking, and beating. Shedding separates the warp into two layers, picking inserts yarn while the shed is open, and beating pushes the filling yarn into the woven fabric.
After this, the following step is called two-fold. Through dyeing the textiles are able to have colors and shades. These dyes contain molecules that through light absorption and reflection conveys various colors for people to see. There are two types of dye, natural and synthetic, and these can be applied through many different methods and at different stages during manufacturing. Direct printing is a popular process that presses dye as a paste onto fabric. Once colored, the final step is about adding an aesthetic appeal to the finished product. This may mean water-resistant properties, protective coatings, and so on.
According to reports from 2013, the textile industry market was valued at $772 billion. As of 2016, the top countries to export textile goods are China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Indonesia. With clothing becoming much more affordable over the past 10 years, many countries production is continuously growing. The future of this field is looking very bright and has a lot of potential.
Similar to many other industries, textiles have certain national and international standards. There are regulations that are required to be complied with. This ensures quality, safety, and sustainability.