Sumera B. Reshi
Gone are the days when men and women toiled over looms and spinning jacks to make a piece of cloth. Today textile engineering has revolutionized the textile industry completely from weaving to dying to printing in different designs.
I remember my visit to Banaras in 2013. The city had a mushroom growth of handmade silk saree Banaras looms. The handlooms were dimly lit, partly underground and the weavers wore a ghost-like look. They appeared most gloomy, half-naked humans in this digital era. I and my team were very excited to see the handmade silk sarees and brocades which we had heard of but never saw with our eyes nor had we touched the handmade fabric. However, the prices amazed us all and we dropped the idea of buying any piece.
The textile technology was once considered a handicraft but today it has become a highly sophisticated, scientific and engineering activity of new types of fibres and technologies. The field encompasses different areas of engineering such as mechanical, electrical, computer, chemical, instrumentation, electronic and structural engineering. Apparel and fashion technology, a part of textile technology have become an important activity for the designing, fashioning and marketing of garments. All this requires knowledge of latest technology and the present day textile-design and the trends in the fashion industry.
Moreover, the textile industry is one of the oldest industries in India. It provides direct employment to nearly thirty million people. Yarn exports in recent years have gone up from 485 thousand tones, (valued at Rs.586 billion) in 1997-98, to 554 thousand tonnes (valued at Rs. 667.4 billion) in 1999-2000. Indian textile machinery is estimated at $ 3.5-4 billion with imports accounting for about 30-35 percent, which mostly caters to the high-end segment of textile and garment manufacturing.
Now the times have changed and we are in the digital era, we can have the best design along with better color combinations and 3D prints. Thanks to the textile engineering which uses technology to produce more in less time. Indeed textile industry in some parts of India like Banaras is still labor-intensive but people have adopted advanced manufacturing processes now in India and the world around. Looms today incorporate air-jets to weave the fabric at the speed of 2000 picks per minutes, however, in 1980’s, 200 picks per minute was considered fast.
Further, textile engineers have been successful in developing high-tech fibers through computer designs. Computer-aided designs and computer-aided manufacturing have a greater impact on textile production. Machine designs have become more sophisticated and precise, enabling innovations in speciality fabrics used in the biomedical field.
The technological changes promote the mechanization of clothing production. In sewing machine industry, technology provides a flexible method of adapting to changing styles, fabrics and sizes. Some important results have emerged as the development in fabric evaluation. But still, there are major obstacles present in the automation of the stitching fabrics. The search for improved competitiveness increases the rise of new methods in designing, quick response, quality and services.
Today reputed brands use 3D printing. Nike uses technology to help to refine and perfect performance athletic footwear. Fashion brands have been designing clothing using 3D rendering software for some time now. Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK have been experimenting with a combination of 3D body scanner and Hollywood –style motion capture equipment to create ultra-realistic, flawless digital recreations of the human body. With programming, these digital avatars can be dressed in whatever clothing the programmer’s desire in order to generate computer-based fashion model. Technological can enhance textile and fashion industry.