Blog: Leonie BarrieFashion in the fast lane

Leonie Barrie | 9 March 2006

A typical mid-size car will incorporate 35kg worth of textile materials by the end of this decade according to a new report that’s just landed on my desk. OK it’s not fast-fashion as we’ve come to know it, but we’re always hearing how fabric manufacturers should be trying to diversify into niche markets and this is one such opportunity to add value and capitalise on existing creative skills.

And it’s not just about seat belts and airbags either, which makes the link less tenuous than it might seem. The customisation of car interiors offers great scope for design conscious companies to tie in to their customers’ individual taste and fashion sense. The idea of textile-covered instrument panels, for example, is a far cry from the ‘any colour – so long as it's black’ mentality of old. Or how about using new materials such as wool, felt, linen and even embroideries, or co-ordinating each seat pad to its own matching carpet?

Perhaps not surprisingly, these demands are more likely to come from women than men. But with research suggesting that women influence 80% of the final purchase decision when buying a new car, it’s probably a fair assumption that these trends - and the opportunities therein - are already speeding towards a high street near you.

Customisation and Safety Provide New Potential for Automotive Textiles


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