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The environmental impact of the production of home textiles often receives much less attention than that of apparel, despite both falling under the ‘textile’ family. With the worth of the global home textiles market anticipated to reach USD$133.4 billion by 2025, ignoring its environmental effects will undermine the overall sustainability movement across the fashion and textile industry.
As part of the “TENCEL™ Insights” series, we spoke to Ebru Bayramoglu, Head of Global Business, Manager of the Home & Interior segment at Lenzing, on the impact of Covid-19 on the home textile segment, and outlined what some of the key challenges facing the home product markets are following recovery.
Q: Why is sustainability important in the home textiles segment?
Ebru: As part of the textiles industry, home products contribute to the 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions that the textile industry creates every year. While observing trends in the fashion industry, one of the key findings was the rise in consumer awareness around the environmental impact of the home textiles segment and its contribution to pollution. To respond to the everchanging demands of consumers, now is the time for home products producers to recognize the importance of sustainability and act on it in a timely and responsible way.
Q: In what ways has the outbreak of COVID-19 changed the home segment?
Ebru: Lockdown regulations across the world have seen more people spending time at home. Alongside the rising demand for loungewear, consumers are paying more attention to the quality and comfort of their home textiles products. At the same time, economic uncertainty has led to reduced income and spending ability for some, which has pushed many consumers to buy smart and seek better value products that have a longer lifespan.
Besides the change in consumer habits, perhaps one of the most interesting observations of the pandemic is the benefit it has had on the environment, encouraging consumers to be more mindful of the natural world around them. For many, this trigger has led to wiser purchasing decisions and a greater demand for eco-friendly products that can help safeguard the planet.
At the roots of these new trends, consumers are now searching for products with high quality, exquisite touch, and above all, sustainability. At Lenzing, we are expecting greater demand from retail brands for eco-friendly fibers, as more of them will make the switch to meet the new consumer demands. We will continue to do our part by pushing innovation and presenting quality TENCEL™ branded lyocell and modal fibers for applications across the segment.
Q: What are some of the key challenges for home textile brands in furthering their sustainability efforts?
Ebru: The home textile segment has a slower innovation cycle than other textile segments. Unlike apparel, which is an extremely time-sensitive industry, trends in bedding, curtains and towels do not change every season. This slower innovation cycle means that the home textiles industry must make a greater effort to catch up to other evolving sustainability trends.
In general, home textile brands tend to wait longer for new products and benefits to be introduced and implemented into the home market, including those related to sustainability. With less eco-friendly resources and materials available in the market, the voice of sustainability in home textiles is less amplified than that of the apparel industry.
At the same time, despite the surging demand for environmentally-friendly home products, not many consumers are aware of how raw materials make a big difference when determining the sustainability of a product. The industry as a whole should actively connect with consumers to discuss raw materials, to give them a more comprehensive idea of what “sustainability” entails.