Toray and Teijin have both informed SNEWSÂ® that they are making waterproof breathable fabrics without the use of solvents that will be unveiled at Winter Market in January.
Patagonia will be the first outdoor industry company out of the gate, debuting Teijin's fabric in its Eco Storm jacket. Teijin's fabric is made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) polyester. Breathability is comparable to two-layer classic Gore-Tex, the company said. Breathability and the hand are the same as in the classic Patagonia Storm jacket. The fabric, according to Patagonia, is "bomber." The Eco Storm jacket will also be recyclable.
Toray's fabric has not finalized yet, but it's getting close, Toray told us. It is made with a water-based solvent-free process. It has 10 to 20,000 mm waterproofness with 10 to 20,000 g per square meter breathability with a soft hand that the company said is also comparable to Gore-Tex.
Toray also anticipates being able to offer solvent-free seam tape for garments, made from its solvent-free DWR. In the future, garments made from this solvent-free waterproof breathable could also be incorporated into its Nylon 6 recycling program, we have been told.
"There is a tendency to push the 'eco story' and sacrifice quality and performance," said Kentaro Hara, general manager of Toray Global Marketing. "That's not good enough for our customers or their consumers."
SNEWSÂ® View: Leave it to Patagonia to lead the way, yet again, with incorporating environmentally responsible materials into its product line. Interesting to note that Gore-Tex remains the waterproof/breathable benchmark that companies continue to compare themselves to. A tribute to Gore's strength of market recognition and market strength to be sure. Comparison data aside, the bottom line to us in determining a product's success, is not proclamation of claimed performance characteristics or the spouting of laboratory data, but consumer acceptance simply because the design is good, the fit is tops, the performance is as expected, and the feel leaves the wearer smiling.