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Fashion Resources: Fibers & Textiles

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The American Fiber Manufactures Association/Fiber Economics Bureau’s website provides information on the U.S. manufactured (man-made) fiber industry including trade names, tariff information and a suppliers guide. The FiberWorld Classroom link leads to information about manufactured textile history, science, manufacturing, health and safety and more.

The website of this global organization provides information of textile research, agricultural research, articles from Lifestyle Monitor magazines and a fabric library directory of source companies for the cotton industry as well as information about many additional services.

"The Cottonworks Global Fabric Library is a searchable online directory that. . .will help you source cotton in wovens, knits, home furnishing, lace/trim constructions that contain 100% cotton or are cotton-rich (which are fabrics containing 60% cotton or more)."

The Outdoor Industry Association's created the Eco Index (currently in Beta) as "a ground-breaking environmental assessment tool designed to advance sustainability practices within the outdoor industry. It provides companies throughout the supply chain a way to benchmark and measure their environmental footprint, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions." Visitors may wish to explore the glossary of terms, links, FAQs and tools in this rich site.

The European Textile Network (ETN) is a nonprofit network of textile artists, cultural heritage institutions and educational institutions with the aim to "develop European co-operation in the field of textile culture." Visitors to the site will be interested in the European Textile Routes, which provides a large network of links (with brief descriptions) to European textile institutions and events both thematically and geographically. These tours are further subdivided into Monuments, Events, Heritage, Textile Production and Education & Research.

This site provides general information about fibers including a brief fiber history page, fiber producers and trademarks, characteristics of textile fibers, a dictionary of fabric terms, fabric care tips, fiber identification through burn test instructions and consumer alert/fabric recalls. It also provides brief descriptions of 150 high performance products listed alphabetically.

This PDF glossary by Celanese Acetate LLC, is over 200 pages and offers detailed definitions for fibers and fiber-related processes as well as black and white illustrations.

This online journal was created by the University of Delaware Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies faculty in order to "showcase fashion and apparel markets around the globe, share the insights of leaders in the industry and the latest academic research on critical issues, highlight opportunities for further education and provide a forum the exchange of ideas, connecting members of our community around the globe." Visitors may access both current and archived issues from this site and they may also sign up to receive notification of new issues.

"The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain of organic textiles and requires compliance with social criteria as well." Visitors to the site may download the current GOTS certification standards. Visitors may also search the public database for suppliers of GOTS certified textiles and products.

Costumes and Textiles is a Digital Interactive Gallery (DIG) presented by the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington. These galleries are "experimental, web-based introductions to specific mediums, subjects, and issues in art and design, all illustrated with images of objects in the Henry's collection." The Costumes and Textiles series provides several ways to explore this area of museum collecting. For example, explore how garments reflect identity, fashion or specific occasions in the wearers' lives. In the textile section, view examples by structure or by type of embellishment. Finally, explore the global connections of Henry Art Gallery objects using Google Earth.

Based in The Netherlands, Materia "functions as a platform between the creative professional and the manufacturer" in architectural and interior design. The website provides visitors with access to Materia's database of innovative architectural and design materials, which may be searched by keyword, technical or 'sensorial' qualities. Registration is required but free. Visitors may wish to search under terms such as 'fabric', 'fiber' or 'fashion' for interesting results.

Australia's Powerhouse Museum is a technology and design museum that provides a wealth of information related to textiles and fashion. For images and information on specific objects search the museum's collection by category, theme or collection. Do a keyword search for "Electronic Swatchbook" to find a database of almost 2000 high quality digital images of historic fabric swatches dating from the 1830s to the 1920s. Lastly, the Museum houses the Lace Study Centre, an in-depth collection of historic and contemporary lace. Visitors may download a number of educational lace-related documents including a glossary, classification guide and case studies.

Intended to be an online extension of the triannual Printsource New York textile and surface design tradeshow, the database is promoted as "the first and only global online tool that allows buyers of surface and textile designs to search for information on creative talent worldwide." Visitors may search this site by company name, country, industry role or product category. Some businesses include a linkable portfolio page of design examples.

This website provides sustainable fabric sourcing and services from a network of suppliers. Visitors may "search through a comprehensive and curated selection of materials and services, review technical and sustainability specs, calculate lead and ship times, connect with suppliers, and source swatches, yardage and products." Membership is free. A site blog also provides updates on eco-fashion internships, jobs, conferences and news.

Textile Exchange is a non-profit, member-based organization dedicated to expanding the organic/sustainable textiles market. While membership is required for access to some features of the site, viewers may access the Marketplace database to search for member companies and suppliers, download the monthly newsletter, and access a number of educational materials through the Learning Zone and Farm Library sections including audio and videos.

The website includes news, a directory of world trade associations and a list of textile periodicals. The site’s Knowledge Center includes pages on fiber history, textile history, textile “personalities,” fiber trademarks, types of weaves and fabric care.

This Textile Industry Affairs sponsored website gives consumers, educators and apparel industry professionals information about textile care labels.

These teaching units by The Lemelson Center provide information for students on the early industrialization of textiles, early dying technologies and the development of the synthetic fiber Nylon. While the teaching units are geared toward younger students, researchers may find the background information and primary documents available through links to Teacher Essays and Student Activity Packets to be very helpful. Each unit also includes a glossary and a bibliography.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization declared 2009 to be the International Year of Natural Fibres. Although a few years old, visitors can go to this site and click on the link "15 Natural Fibres" to peruse a brief history and learn about the different natural fibers that come from plants and animals, as well as a several educational videos. The "Fibre Stories" link includes stories about new innovations for different natural fibers.