PrimaLoft to launch expansion into fleece and fabrics at Outdoor Retailer

Fresh from its spin-off from Albany International, newly independent PrimaLoft will launch a new line of performance fleece and fabrics at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Aug. 1-5. SNEWS has the exclusive preview.
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Fresh from its spin-off from Albany International, newly independent PrimaLoft will launch a new line of performance fleece and fabrics at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Aug. 1-5.

The expansion will extend the brand beyond its core business of insulation, PrimaLoft CEO Micahel Joyce told SNEWS in an exclusive, pre-show interview.

“This is a natural progress of our business,” Joyce said, noting that the company’s new independent ownership is allowing it to reinvest its profits toward expanding the company. “This also allows us to be more of a four-season company.”

The latter is an important point coming off a warm winter, which hurt many cold-weather brands, although Joyce said PrimaLoft’s business remained strong, particularly in jacket insulation, despite a hit to gloves and other winter accessories.

Joyce said 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.

“We want to redefine ourselves form an insulation brand to much more of a skin-to-shell brand,” Joyce said. But that doesn’t mean PrimaLoft will follow its competitor Polartec into the waterproof/breathable market. “We’re sticking to breathable soft shells,” he said, “no hard shells.”

PrimaLoft is partnering with global textile manufacturers Mitsui, Pontetorto, Tiong Liong and Eurotex to construct the products, including performance fleeces, seamless base layers and technical two-ply knits.

To help grow the new business category, PrimaLoft has realigned its vice president of operations, Joe Rumiesz, to focus 100 percent of his time toward PrimaLoft Yarn.

PrimaLoft continues to shift and add positions following its management buyout of the company from former owner Albany International for $38 million, a deal announced in early May and officially closed June 29.

In early June, PrimaLoft named Tom Seaver as its new chief financial officer. Seaver, former CFO at Trans World Entertainment, also spent 21 years in financial and accounting roles at Albany International.

Along with the new PrimaLoft fabrics, the company will increasingly showcase 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, and offer all-season use,” Joyce said.

--David Clucas

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