DuPont has announced a number of changes in the company, as well as new fabrics and fibers, on the heels of some six months of planning and budget tinkering. This is yet another step in company restructuring that comes not only after a January announcement of a new management structure that set up one umbrella team for Activewear and Outdoor, but also after earnings losses and layoffs.
The biggest announcement of "a new brand architecture" came at a swank party at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show the night before the show opened. Noshing on piles of prawns and wheels of ripe camembert cheese, Dupont and a few of its major customers listened to Brian Gallagher, global communications brand manager for Activewear and Outdoor, discuss what the company called a "consumer-driven business model" that linked its brands to three levels of performance and eliminates emphasis on less well-recognized fibers.
The simplified performance levels will be CoolMax, Active Performance, and Extreme Performance, Marsha Reier told SNEWS® at the soiree, and all levels will be certified. This should satisfy not only the tech-driven customer, she said, but also anyone wearing cotton shirts to aerobics.
This strategy will also eliminate the majority of the company's fiber sub-brands and focus marketing resources on building its major brands: Lycra, Tactel, CoolMax, Thermolite, Cordura, and Supplex, all of which will fall into those performance levels.
"Today's marketplace demands an understanding of the consumer," said Jeff McGuire, North American marketing manager for Activewear and Outdoor. "This approach is designed to make it easier for our customers to do business with DuPont while addressing the needs of the consumer at the same time."
Along with that announcement, came the unveiling at the show of three new or expanded fabrics and fibers:
- The company broadened its Lycra segment to include two new fibers for active and outdoor markets. One called T-400 is an eleastic, bi-component fiber made up of two different polyester fibers to offer more stretch and recovery that previous ones. T-400 eliminates "sag," and is wrinkle-resistant. The second fiber, T-800, is a new nylon fiber that combines the performance of nylon with relaxed stretch and the fit of a woven fabric.
- Together with Milliken & Company and Glen Raven Mills, DuPont introduced a new fabric called Correro, which is a collection of woven fabrics that features CoolMax and Cordura, and is finished with a Milliken proprietary process.
- DuPont also expanded its Cordura line with deniers ranging from 30 to 2,000, which will allow broader applications of the durable fabric. The varying deniers will also be mixed with CoolMax, Lycra, Supplex and others.