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NEW YORK — Denim fabric specialist Isko has launched Isko Arquas, a new platform featuring high-performance denim fabrics aimed squarely at the ath-leisure market.

“Venturing into the high-performance sports apparel market was a natural progression for Isko,” said Marco Lucietti, global marketing director of the Isko division of Sanko Textile, who added the company is always looking to create “denim at the forefront of technology and style.”

In an interview prior to a New York launch party Tuesday night, Lucietti said, “Strategically, we had been searching in our innovation landscape for a platform to satisfy requests from consumers for a collection that was, at once, fashionable and performance oriented and the ath-leisure platform is where fashion and denim are linked.”

He said the Arquas name, loosely translated from Latin, means “bend the rules,” in the aspect of being able to buy garments that can be worn to the office and to the fitness center, and then out to dinner.

Isko Arquas fabrics made into garments were featured in performance denim sports apparel at an event at the Technogym flagship store in SoHo.

The platform is comprised of four concepts: Dance/Yoga/Fitness, Urban Tech, Commuter Biking and Blue Outdoor, with fabrics available starting this spring.

Developed alongside its fashion design center, Creative Room, Isko Arquas consists of denim innovation and textile technologies. Fabrics include functional qualities such as a soft hand and degrees of stretch, as well as performance characteristics ranging from antibacterial, thermoregulatory, breathability, waterproof, UV protected, reflective and odor reduction.

“We have 75 people working in our R&D [research and development] center, including textile engineers, chemical engineers, IT engineers, biologists, really trying to bring innovation to the denim market segment,” Lucietti said. “We’ve been working with man-made fiber producers, new knitting and weaving technology, and new chemical recipes applied to textiles. This collection is an experience born two-and-a-half years ago, and today we see the result, with new finishings or blending with man-made fibers through new spinning technologies, and 98 percent of the collection have cotton next to the skin.”

Lucetti said Isko is one of the biggest denim producers in the world, with a capacity of 250 million meters a year, controlling about a third of the global premium denim market. The Turkish-based company is vertically integrated from field to finished fabric, and is one of the largest organic cotton growers worldwide. Isko operates in 60 locations worldwide.

“We launched in Milan and New York, but we feel this will be a collection that will be adopted faster in the U.S. because the ath-leisure idea came from the U.S.,” he added, citing such companies as Lululemon, Under Armour and Urban Oufitters.

Arquas builds upon Isko’s recent patented denim fabrics called Isko Future Face and Isko Blue Jym that were created as a cross between denim and knitwear.

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