37 of 2020

                                                                         Newsletter No. 37 / 2 October 2020                            





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South Africa takes the lead in world cotton day celebrations

By Tanya Aucamp

Wow, I am speechless!” was Mike McCue, Director of Communications ICAC, Washington’s response to Cotton South Africa (SA)’s itinerary for the World Cotton Day celebrations scheduled to take place on 7 October 2020. Few countries will be able to match the depth of this program!”

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) and World Trade Organization (WTO) co-established this global day in 2019, as a formal recognition of the countless benefits that cotton brings to communities worldwide. World Cotton Day provides cotton organisations, advocacy groups, investors and beneficiaries a platform to educate peers and consumers on the positive impact that cotton can have on transforming consumption, production, development and trade.

“I am honoured to be a panelist in the Webinar that will be hosted by Cotton SA, in support of this much-deserved celebration. It is an exceptional opportunity to unite our industry to drive mass awareness around the significant role cotton plays in the world economy and our everyday lives,” said Kai Hughes, Executive Director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

Cotton SA will be celebrating World Cotton Day on 7 October 2020 with two key events running concurrently. These will include a live-streamed Webinar, managed by YehBaby and facilitated by the well-known presenter, Ivor Price (TV Presenter, columnist and co-founder of FoodForMzansi.co.za), coupled with a face-to-face media engagement session in partnership with Woolworths, John Deere, the Nasional Press Club and the Agriculture Writers Association that will take place in Pretoria from14:30 on the same day.

The webinar is scheduled to go live at 15:00 (SA time zone) on the 7th of October. Presenters will include local and international cotton leaders. International speakers include Kai Hughes, Executive Director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) from Washington and the UK based Lisa Barrett that holds the position of BCI Africa Operations Manager. The local speakers will include Hennie Bruwer, CEO of Cotton SA, Lawrence Pillay Woolworths, Global Head of Sourcing Quality & Innovation Woolworths South Africa and Country Road Group Australia, Natasja, Ambrosio MRPG Head of Sustainability, Phillip du Plessis (John Deere Terrain Manager) and Tanya Aucamp an independent communication specialist for Cotton SA.

The theme of the 2020 World Cotton Day is “Celebrating the uniqueness of cotton, the only crop that is both a fibre and a food crop”. Emphasize will be placed on the sustainability of cotton (for us BCI) and highlighting the facts on cotton production, countering the many industry myths. The Webinar will cover the global cotton trends with a primary focus on the local cotton trends and the current status and challenges farmers are faced with. Presenters will also be sharing information on innovative technology (cultivars & equipment), the importance of crop management (planting + weather, managing pesticides – cotton planting cycle – and the processing of cotton from farm to fashion).

Other activities that will take place in SA in celebration of this unique fibre, are two cotton focused programmes, one in English with Tony Ndoro as the host, and one in Afrikaans with Theo Vorster as host, to be broadcasted on www.techterrain.co.za on the 7th. This platform is sponsored by John Deere and has more than a million followers.

The retail sponsorship partner, Woolworths, will also have some displays at selected stores.

Globally some of the celebration’s events include:

  • Virtual Sustainability Seminar by COTTON USA (Latin America)
  • LinkedIn Photo Challenge by Women in Cotton
  • Youth Cotton Video by Bremen Cotton Exchange (Germany)
  • Cotton Seminar by TexTalks (Pakistan)
  • Brand/Retailer Promo Partnerships & Videos by Cotton Incorporated

All of these virtual sessions encourage participants – from farm to fashion – to show their pride for cotton by wearing cotton on the 7th and by sharing their support towards the industry on social media with the hashtag, #WorldCottonDay and #CottonSA.

To attend this Webinar, please register online: http://bit.ly/WorldCottonDayWebinar

Registration is free, the first 50 South African participants to register will stand a chance to win a hamper.

South Africa’s designers to present mohair garments

Pic South African Fashion Week

South Africa’s top designers are all set to showcase their mohair garments in the Diamond Fibre Collections – a collection of designer fashion to celebrate mohair, a soft and lustrous fibre with high dye retention, elasticity and resilience. Mohair has been nicknamed ‘the diamond fibre’. South Africa produces nearly half of all the mohair in the world.

Design studios such as Lukhanyo Mdingi, Judith Atelier and MmusoMaxwell are taking part in the Diamond Fibre Collections.

The Diamond Fibre Collections marks celebration of local designers, fabrics, producers and fashion. Receiving substantial support over the last 12 months, from raw materials to marketing support and mentorship, the designers are now ready to showcase their creation in the first ever digital South African Fashion Week (SAFW) set for early October 2020.

Incorporating mohair and mohair blends, the designers have created contemporary, modern and refined trans-seasonal collections. Oversized and bulky cuts are juxtaposed against straight lines and soft, flowing creations that accentuate the human form. Traditional weaves have been brought to life through soft colours, often offset by starkly contrasted brighter shades and complementary colours, making full use of the dye retention properties of the textile.

Lukhanyo Mdingi label has meticulously made pieces. The intention is to ensure a pragmatic and mindful approach in product development. There is a collaboration with select artisans that source and create unique textiles.

Judith-Atelier label was founded by Judith Nel in 2014. Since then Judith-Atelier has become the voice of modern minimalism. The studio is celebrated for its versatility, strong sense of sophistication, and effortless approach to providing women with the perfect attire for every aspect of their lives. Bold, intuitive and refined, each collection features the finest craftsmanship and materials, adapting Judith’s own personal style to the needs and desires of women who want distinctive, luxurious garments.

MmusoMaxwell is a womenswear fashion brand that creates garments inspired by African heritage and contemporary culture, with a particular emphasis on tailoring to complement the modern woman. The studio focuses on accentuating detail, practicality and wearability through a well-considered design process.

The Diamond Fibre Collections is an initiative led by the South Africa Mohair Cluster (SAMC) in partnership with SAFW. The initiative began through a call to applicants, whereby 20 talented South African designers were nominated by fashion leaders. A panel of experienced judges selected the top three designers. A strategic collaboration has been secured with The Fashion Agent – South Africa’s leading fashion wholesale agency and distribution company. This provides not only a platform through which the collections may be purchased, but also access to the agency’s international, multi-dimensional distribution network, connecting the designers to new markets and channels both domestically as well as abroad.

The initiative is meant to highlight the versatile nature of mohair, and also to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), building the local mohair sector to drive access to both local and international markets, and tapping into the creativity that exists within the South Africa fashion design sector. F2F

Robotic Fabric: A breakthrough with many uses

Researchers at Yale have developed a robotic fabric, a breakthrough that could lead to such innovations as adaptive clothing, self-deploying shelters, or lightweight shape-changing machinery.

The lab of Prof. Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio has created a robotic fabric that includes actuation, sensing, and variable stiffness fibers while retaining all the qualities that make fabric so useful – flexibility, breathability, small storage footprint, and low weight. They demonstrated their robotic fabric going from a flat, ordinary fabric to a standing, load-bearing structure. They also showed a wearable robotic tourniquet and a small airplane with stowable/deployable fabric wings. The results are published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers focused on processing functional materials into fiber-form so they could be integrated into fabrics while retaining its advantageous properties. For example, they made variable stiffness fibers out of an epoxy embedded with particles of Field’s metal, an alloy that liquifies at relatively low temperatures. When cool, the particles are solid metal and make the material stiffer; when warm, the particles melt into liquid and make the material softer.

“Our Field’s metal-epoxy composite can become as flexible as latex rubber or as stiff as hard acrylic, over 1,000 times more rigid, just by heating it up or cooling it down,” said Trevor Buckner, a graduate student in Kramer-Bottiglio’s lab and lead author on the paper. “Long fibers of this material can be sewn onto a fabric to give it a supportive skeleton that we can turn on and off.” These on-demand support fibers allow a robotic fabric to be bent or twisted and then locked into shape, or hold loads that would otherwise collapse a typical fabric.

To create sensors that detect internal or environmental changes and allow the fabric to respond appropriately, the researchers developed a conductive ink based on a Pickering emulsion, which lowers the ink viscosity and also enables the use of non-toxic solvents. With this ink, the researchers can paint the sensors directly onto the fabric.

“The conductive composite self-coagulates around the individual fibers and does not notably change the porosity of the fabric,” said Kramer-Bottiglio, the John J. Lee Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. “The sensors are visible, but don’t change the texture or breathability of the fabric, which is important for comfort in wearable applications.”

To make the fabric move, the researchers used shape-memory alloy (SMA) wire, which can return to a programmed shape after being deformed. SMA wire is usually programmed into coils or meshes to generate contracting motion, but this approach was not desirable as it caused the fabric to bunch up unpredictably.

“Instead of using the coil technique, we flattened the wires out into ribbons to give them a geometry much more suited to smooth bending motion, which is perfect for robotic fabrics,” said Buckner.

As the project was funded by the Air Force Office of Science Research, the researchers envision applications such deployable and adaptive structures, active compression garments, smart cargo webbing, and reconfigurable RF antennas. “We believe this technology can be leveraged to create self-deploying tents, robotic parachutes, and assistive clothing,” says Kramer-Bottiglio. “Fabrics are a ubiquitous material used in a wide range of products, and the ability to ‘roboticize’ some of these products opens up many possibilities.”  Promostyl

Did you know……..

Burnt Shorts

How does an astronaut do laundry? They don’t. According to astronaut Chris Hadfield, there is no washing machine on the International Space Station. The astronauts load up their used unmentionables into a resupply ship, then let it loose to fall back into the atmosphere where it is incinerated. We don’t like to think about the atmosphere containing microscopic dust of astronaut underwear for us to breathe in, but there you go.

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