From inside to out, new fabrics offer improved climate control, ruggedness and safety

From inside to out, new fabrics offer improved climate control, ruggedness and safety. Plus eVent introduces a lighter version of its shell fabric, it thanks the competition.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

This SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you by Cordura:

Here's wrap of fabric news at Summer Market:

Starting with next-to-skin fabric, Polartec introduces a new lightweight version of Power Dry that uses polypro fibers on the inside instead of regular polyester. The polypro makes the fabric even more hydrophobic and faster drying (if slightly more expensive), said Polartec spokesman Fielding Miller. It’s being used in Outdoor Research’s Torque shirt, available with long or short sleeves.

Fresh from its spin-off from Albany International, newly independent PrimaLoft launched a new line of performance fleece and fabrics at the show.

The expansion will extend the brand beyond its core business of insulation, allowing it to be more of a four-season company with next-to-skin options. The new PrimaLoft yarns and fleece focus on performance attributes such as softness, moisture-wicking and management and seamless fabrics. They will be constructed with yarns made from the brand’s micro-denier fibers, which officials claim to be “finer than cashmere.” The yarns will include both synthetic fibers and merino wool/synthetic blends, and there will be a range of lightweight summer and spring fabrics to heavier knits for fall and winter layers.

Lenzing offers a new double-layer fabric with fleece on one side and 100-micro polyester on the other. The fleece incorporates Tencel (the fiber made from wood-pulp cellulose), and the result, said company spokesman Andreas Gürtler, “provides superior moisture management, naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria, and absorbs dye more efficiently for vibrant, strong colors and superior black.” So far, the fabric is being used in garments from Austrian company Löffler.

Teijin Fibers Limited has a new three-layer polyester fabric that aims to prevent wearers from becoming chilled and/or sticky when sweating. A moisture-absorbing middle layer sucks up sweat; a hydrophic next-to-skin layer keeps that moisture from returning to the skin.

Sometimes fabric gets applied in an unexpected way. For instance, Cordura’s recently introduced denim, which is four times as abrasion-resistant as regular cotton and incorporates Lycra for stretch, has been picked up by Millet for its climbing-oriented Crag denim pant and capri, which just won an innovation award at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen. “We engineered the denim for work wear, but it has applicability in extreme environments we didn’t anticipate,” said Cindy McNaull, Cordura’s global brand and marketing director. “We’re also excited about its use for urban cycling,” she added, noting that Swerve picked up the fabric earlier this year and other brands are following suit.

Taiwan-based Hyperbola has incorporated black tricot, traditionally used as a lining, into a patterned knit that is then laminated to make it water- and windproof, according to Sales Director Dorothy Wang. The result is a featherweight, transparent shell fabric known as crystal tricot that also has four-way stretch. The unusual product caused at least one passing product designer to make a beeline for it when he passed the booth.

And sometimes a fabric gets viewed in a new light — literally. 3M’s Scotchlite Reflective Material, which returns light back to its original source when illuminated, is experiencing a revival, driven by the increase in bike commuters, said company spokesperson Laura Dumke. “They want to have that extra functionality to keep them visible,” she noted. Yarn made with Scotchlite offers that safety in subtle yet stylish ways, and is being used in garments from Levis and The North Face.

--Cindy Hirschfeld

Why eVent likes Polartec Neoshell

When it comes to getting out the word about how well its waterproof fabric breathes, eVent is grateful for Polartec’s Neoshell. “They’re helping us market the concept of air permeability,” said Chad Kelly, global lead product manager for eVent. “It adds credibility to what we’ve been trying to educate the marketplace about.”

One new addition to that marketplace is eVent’s DVL fabric, a 2.5-layer product that incorporates a lighter-weight abrasion-protective print on the original waterproof/breathable fabric rather than a lining. “When the 2.5-layer category came out, we were watching it closely,” Kelly said. “As people because aware of its limitations, we saw a gap.” The company aims to fill that gap with DVL, which addresses the clamminess that can occur when internal moisture builds up. “We believe it’s the only air-permeable, waterproof 2.5-layer product,” said Kelly. “It’s best use is for highly active users.” For spring ‘13, those target users can look for DVL in garments from Westcomb and Rab.

Meanwhile, at Polartec itself, game-changer Neoshell continues to evolve; the latest version, used in Marmot’s Nabu jacket for spring 13, incorporates a high-efficiency grid backing that wicks moisture and adds a thermal element to the fabric.

--Cindy Hirschfeld 

The heat is on

Three companies introduced three alternative ways of providing warmth at Summer Market.

Milan, Italy-based Thermore, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, launched Thermore Pro, a water-repellent synthetic insulation that contains 90- percent-recycled plastic bottles. It’s available in 80- and 100-gram weights.

“We’re really excited to be able to offer water repellency,” said Sarah Piazza, the company’s Western regional sales rep. “And it’s one of our softest and warmest products.”

Schoeller is already finding new applications for Corkshell, the thermal insulation made from wine-cork production scraps that the company introduced last winter. Its line of washable wools has a laminate coating of Corkshell, which makes the wool 30 percent warmer, according to Jennifer Ryan, Schoeller’s New England sales rep. She envisions the wool being adopted for active silhouettes like pullovers, anoraks and shells.



PrimaLoft
showcased some of its lighter weight insulations at Summer Market. Insulation gram weights as low as 25, 40 and 60 grams have taken off with brands and consumers, officials said.

--Cindy Hirschfeld

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