NEW YORK — DuPont has added its new fiber, Sorona, to FAST, its Web-based search engine, sampling service and collaboration space for fabric.

More than 20 mills have put samples of Sorona-based fabric up on the site, which allows apparel designers to see and request physical samples through overnight delivery.

“This is a quick way to see the samples and request it all at the same time,” said Dawson Winch, global product and marketing manager for DuPont’s Sorona business in Wilmington, Del.

An executive at one of the mills, Haitian in Quanzhou, China, said his company believes FAST will help the mill reach a broader audience.

“The purpose of us joining [FAST] is to use the platform to go to the world market and introduce our product to international buyers, not just buyers in China,” said Lian-Jing Jong, general manager of the Quanzhou Haitian Textile Group, speaking through a translator.

The company makes fabric for activewear, T-shirts and innerwear, including 60 fabrics using Sorona fiber. Sorona is a polymer fiber that DuPont markets as combining several attributes, such as softness with stretch, and wrinkle resistance with drapability. It can be blended with natural fibers such as cotton, wool or linen.

Since FAST launched last July, it has grown to include 579 mills from 40 countries and more than 40,000 fabrics. When FAST e-mails fabric buyers, about 11 percent visit the Web site, at fastextile.com, to view fabrics. In July, FAST said it had 1,600 apparel manufacturers and retailers. That count, which has since increased to 1,800, includes divisions such as Gap Kids and Banana Republic.

The purpose of the service, which is backed by Invista, Fountain Set and TAL, is to simplify the process of finding fabric, to reduce lead times by four to five weeks, to cut costs for manufacturers and to help mills increase sales. Its goal is to become the number-one method for finding fabric in the world.

This story first appeared in the May 24, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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