With the increasing hype surrounding what nanotechnology can actually deliver, research emphasis in this area needs to be placed on how nanotechnology can bring tangible benefits to existing industries and ordinary consumers. This paper gives selected examples of real world applications of nano-structured materials, including nano fibrous and particulate materials. It reviews recent research into nano-structured surface coating of textile substrates for enhanced functionalities, and the development of fine and uniform nanofibres for advanced applications. Emphasis has been placed on relevant research activities in the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation at Deakin University, Australia. In the nano-structured surface coating area, several examples of enhancing fabric performance and functionality are provided, including silica coating for photochromic textiles, superhydrophobic surface coating and transparent ZnO coating to reduce colour fading of textiles exposed to UV radiation. In the nanofibre area, these activities include: elimination of beaded fibres without increasing the average diameter of the electrospun nanofibres, electrospinning of side-by-side bi-component nanofibres, new insight into the evolution of fibre morphology in electrospinning and the electrospinning technology itself.