The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by convenience, comfort, and technology, and the growing importance of technologies such as anti-static fibres, polyester industrial clothing, and yarn spinning techniques . In the last three years alone, there have been over 32,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Apparel: Anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the apparel industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the apparel industry using innovation intensity models built on over 13,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, yarn chemical treatment, embossed protective clothing, and garment laser embossing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Fire retardant garments, antistatic fabrics, and interlaced yarn fabrics are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are flat knitting machines and coated yarn fabrics, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the apparel industry

Anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns is a key innovation area in apparel

Anti-allergenic textiles can be defined as textiles that can reduce the predisposition to different types of fungal and bacterial allergies such as cold and flu. These fabrics act as physical/bioactive barriers against allergens. Anti-static fibres prevent the build-up of static charges and static electricity.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns.

Key players in anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns – a disruptive innovation in the apparel industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 29 Unlock company profile
Welspun Group 23 Unlock company profile
Teijin 18 Unlock company profile
NV Bekaert 18 Unlock company profile
Koch Industries 17 Unlock company profile
Eastman Chemical Co 13 Unlock company profile
Apple 12 Unlock company profile
Allbirds 7 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 7 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 6 Unlock company profile
Politechnika Lodzka 6 Unlock company profile
Sanko Holding 5 Unlock company profile
Intel 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The key players in anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns space in terms of patents filed are Nike, Welspun Group, Teijin, Bekaert, and Koch Industries. Welspun India’s anti-allergenic textiles are imbibed with a patented, innovated Nano Core weave that can create a natural barrier to allergens. These fabrics’ chemical-free finish is comfortable on sensitive skins.

The leading players in anti-static and anti-allergenic yarns space in terms of application diversity are Nike, Alphabet, Intel, Apple, and Microsoft.

In terms of geographic reach, the top companies are Koch Industries, Politechnika Lodzka, NV Bekaert, Eastman Chemical, and Allbirds.

Anti-allergenic yarns are likely to gain popularity in the future owing to their ability to provide benefits such as sleep improvement, relaxation, improvement in lung capacity, as well as relief from nose disorders, allergies, and stress.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the apparel industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Apparel.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.