Creative Genius Podcast

Season 7 Episode 2

A Look Inside the World of Textiles (Carrie Dillon)

A Look Inside the World of Textiles (Carrie Dillon)

Textiles are one of the most versatile and eye-catching elements you can incorporate into your designs. Keeping up with the latest trends and advances in manufacturing, design and sustainability can be a challenge, though. Fortunately, there are industry resources that can help to guide you.

In this podcast, Gail and Erin talk with Carrie Dillon, managing director of the International Textile Alliance (ITA), a nonprofit business membership association of manufacturers and suppliers to the industry that works to promote the textile industry, educate members, and provide opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange. The ITA also operates an Educational Foundation that provides learning opportunities and scholarships to students and seeks to encourage them to enter the industry.

Interior designers may be familiar with ITA through its trade show, Interwoven (formerly known as Showtime), held each May and November in High Point, North Carolina. Carrie was instrumental in the recent rebranding of the event, which focused on improving the buyer experience and expanding the educational content. Although oriented toward major purchasers of textiles, such as furniture manufacturers, interior designers are welcome to attend, said Carrie. They are most likely to want to tour the temporary exhibition hall and the Trends Gallery, where they can see samples of how new textiles have been applied to furniture and other products.

Carrie explained that some of the exhibitors will sell their textiles as cut yardage for orders of fifty yards or less. She advised designers who are interested in purchasing textiles from a particular exhibitor to plan in advance to find out if they fill smaller orders and to make an appointment, as few allow walk-ins due to the high volume of traffic during the show.

Among its other activities, ITA is involved in promoting the recycling, repurposing and circularity of textiles to keep used materials out of landfills. They also collaborate with global trends forecasting agency Fashion Snoops to inform those in the industry about upcoming trends and help “connect the dots” from design to manufacturing to consumer buying habits.

During their conversation, Gail, Erin and Carrie touched on a number of other topics, including the range of ITA’s educational offerings for members and students, developments in performance fabrics and the hazards of PFAs, and the advancement of women in the industry. For these and other topics, including Carrie’s new dog’s mysterious breed, listen to the entire podcast.

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Mentioned in This Podcast

For more information about the International Textile Alliance (ITA), visit their website at On the same site, you will also find information about the ITA Educational Foundation and its support for students. You can also find information about Interwoven, ITA’s textile fair held twice a year in May and November at High Point, North Carolina.

Carrie referred to the Sustainable Leather Foundation. SLF supports the global leather value chain to learn, to improve and to protect for future generations, through the People ~ Planet ~ Profit principle. Their website features a Transparency Dashboard that is linked to an audit certification standard that assesses the compliance and performance of companies working within the leather value chain. It also maintains a page of information for consumers of leather goods and materials.

Gail and Carrie both mentioned Fashion Snoops, a global trends forecasting agency for the fashion, accessories, home decor, beauty, media, marketing and other consumer-facing industries.

Erin asked Carrie about the use of PFAs in textiles. Some PFAs (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) have been used in some textiles to enhance their performance, such as water- and sun-resistance, and to improve longevity. Known as “forever-chemicals” because they do not break own over time and thus pollute the ecosystem, PFAs have been found to present health hazards in animals and humans.

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