ITMA 2019 Sustainable Innovation Award Finalists & Winners

For several decades, the textile industry has been implementing new technologies and developing new innovative fibers, which can contribute to social and environmental benefits. Since the fashion industry is considered one of the most polluting in the world, technological innovation is a fundamental element in the transformation to ensure that the entire textile industry is more sustainable.  This concept was well represented during ITMA 2019.

ITMA 2019 Logo


The environmental sustainability strategy aims at changing specialization trends in environmentally sensitive exports, introducing environmentally friendly practices and sustainably exploiting the benefits based on biodiversity. The aim is to promote innovation and the creation of local technological capacities in production; encourage complementarities and linkages between economic sectors; create human and social capital and ensure environmental sustainability.

ITMA's sustainability priorities



ITMA, owned by the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), organized by ITMA Services, has become a leading trade show for the industry in recent years. It is the platform where the industry converges every four years to explore new ideas, effective solutions and collaborative partnerships for business growth. Where more than 1,700 exhibitors and original manufacturers from 45 countries take advantage of the opportunity to present the latest trends and technologies in the pace of four years. This year, the 18th edition of ITMA, the international textile machinery exhibition was held in the eight halls of Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Vía venue with an exhibition area of 240,000 square metres.


As is normal at this fair, the largest number of exhibitors come from European countries, while the countries that are part of CEMATEX represent approximately 65 percent of all exhibiting companies. New exhibitors (30 percent more since ITMA 2015) eager to show their robotic solutions, vision systems and artificial intelligence in garment manufacturing; first class networking, influencers and industry experts, gathered to show their technologies to more than 200,000 visitors, new global perspectives, trends and problems addressed in industry conferences and forums.


ITMA 2019 Industry Excellence Award, recognises textile and garment manufacturers who have leveraged technological innovations to advance business sustainability that benefit people, planet and profit.


ITMA’s rules for exhibitors state that companies may display only “newly manufactured products”, ensuring that only state-of-the-art machinery and innovative technologies are available to visitors to the event. The exhibitor categories that show the greatest growth include the apparel, printing and ink sectors. In addition, prizes are awarded for particularly sustainable performances at the event. Some of them are also awarded to students.


The award comprises two categories: ITMA Industry Excellence Award which celebrates the collaboration of ITMA exhibitors and their customers, and the ITMA Research & Innovation (R&I) Excellence Award for Master’s students of R&I Pavilion exhibiting institutions. At the end of May, the panel of judges selected and reveal the three finalists who have worked closely with ITMA 2019 exhibitors to introduce innovative solutions to their production process or products.


All the ITMA 2019 Industry Excellence Award finalists this year have agreed on their commitment to research and implement new manufacturing technologies aimed at creating more sustainable and less polluting denim garments. Despite being one of the basic garments in any wardrobe, denim manufacturing is precisely one of the most polluting processes in the fashion industry.  For more on this, read our “Dangerous Denim” article.


The Italian company Candiani SpA, one of Europe’s largest denim fabric manufacturers, nominated by Lenzing AG, has been awarded the ITMA Prize for innovation and sustainability, receiving the trophy from CEMATEX President, Mr Fritz P. The Italian company has received this recognition thanks to its “Candiani Re-Gen” product, created to commemorate its 80th anniversary. A denim fabric made from recycled raw materials, made up of 50 percent Lyocell-Tencel fibres; a biodegradable synthetic fibre, made from wood pulp and cotton pulp recycled by the Austrian company Lenzing; and another 50 percent from recycled fibres and post-industrial origin, dyed under a green technology that considerably reduces the use of water and chemicals.


The other two finalists for this ITMA 2019 Award for Industrial Excellence were Levi Strauss & Co and VF Corporation. They were also praised for their efforts to introduce sustainable innovations in their products and manufacturing processes.


Levi Strauss & Co,  winner of the 2015 Award, was nominated for launching FLX Customization Studio. An initiative that revolutionizes in-store product customization, allowing customers to choose their denim finish. And enabling them to have a fully customized product in as little as two hours. All this through the use of 100% recycled water, and thanks to the H2Zero recycling technology of the Spanish company Jeanologia.


On its part, VF Corporation has implemented in its jeans the finishing system of the Italian company Tonello. An all-in-one system combines four technologies that drastically reduces the water needed in the finishing stages of jean manufacturing. The All-in-One System leverages Tonello’s garment finishing system for its denim brands. Besides saving energy, it also cuts down chemical consumption, processing times and total production costs.

The North American companies Wrangler and GAP, have reached different agreements for the manufacture of their denim garments with the Spanish company Tejidos Royo. Thanks to its revolutionary “Dry Indigo” technology, it can reduce water consumption during the dyeing phase by almost 100 percent, consume 65 percent less energy and use 89 percent less chemical products. Eliminating discharges, and without the need to generate any type of waste that is harmful to the environment.


It was not only large companies that received awards. The postgraduate students of the exhibiting institutions also received their recognition to their outstanding achievements in textile and garment research.


The ITMA 2019 Research & Innovation (R&I) Excellence Award for Master’s students of R&I Pavilion exhibiting institutions is won by Mathias Zidda, Institut Für Textiltechnik, RWTH Aachen University for his thesis: Development of a gear driven 3D rotational braiding machine and its control concept. Pamela Massaccesi, from the Universidad De Buenos Aires, resulted finalist with the thesis: TUTTI – Reusable Food Wrapping, as well as Sarika Sunil Borikar, from D.K.T.E. Society’s Textile & Engineering Institute with the thesis: Sanitary Napkin: A Greener Approach.


CEMATEX, announced that in 2023, the event will return to 2015 host city; Milan, Italy and will take place from 8 to 14 June 2023 at the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition centre. So you can now set the date on your calendar for what is sure to be another successful ITMA event.