VF Corp. and its Lee brand in Asia has received an Edison Award for its Jade Fusion Denim.
The award is for the bronze placement and is in the Materials Science category. The Edison Awards honors the best in innovation in the development of new products and services.
The technology VF has developed for its Lee brands jeans features particles from jade gemstones combined with cotton to help wick moisture and enable cooler denim.
Stephen Dull, VF’s vice president of strategy and innovation, said, “At VF, innovation all starts with the consumer — understanding their needs so that we can design purposeful and compelling products.”
The company said its corporate innovation team worked with its Lee brand and a global network of universities, labs and mills to research and develop the Jade Fusion line to address the issue of denim discomfort in hot, humid climates.
The team found that consumers in the Asia-Pacific region avoid wearing denim when the weather is hot and humid because of breathability and stickiness issues.
The company said materials experts and scientists involved in the project tested more than 60 different materials and found that yarn infused with jade created cooler fabrics.
The cooling concept was first introduced to Chinese consumers last year, and is being rolled out to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
VF has made innovation a priority as part of its Innovation Agenda, an initiative it began in September 2010. The company owns and operates three Global Innovation Centers, all in the U.S. The Jeanswear Global Innovation Center is located in Greensboro, N.C. VF’s chairman and chief executive officer Eric Wiseman said there are 50 to 60 people working at that three centers, and at least half of the researchers have Ph.D.s.
The company last year also introduced its Magna Fusion, a similar concept as Jade Fusion except that it uses igneous rock to hold in heat. It also is being rolled out in the Asia-Pacific region.