Athletes and those who want to look like them are demanding more than a little flex from their performance fabrics — and the textile industry has taken notice.
A recent survey by The NPD Group showed consumers are interested in more established fabric technologies in activewear, such as stain resistance and waterproofing. There’s also a growing desire for newer advancements in “smart fabrics” with cooling and warming characteristics, as well as moisture-wicking and UV protection.
Here are five of the latest innovations.
• Invista’s Cooling Technology by Lycra Beauty consists of nylon fibers that are engineered so moisture moves to the fabric’s outer surface, where it evaporates quickly. Among the benefits of nylon using Cooling Technology are its permanence, shaping and quick-drying, improved comfort and easier garment care.
• The North Face’s Summit Series mountaineering collection now has the most breathable waterproof membrane — DryVent — the brand has ever made. The collection, bowing this week, also includes the brand’s most advanced FuseForm jacket, enabling more seamlessly engineered zones.
• Noble Biomaterials recently received Bluesign Product Line Approval for its XT2 anti-odor technology that employs a proprietary process to provide permanent anti-odor protection that does not wash off or wear out. XT2 fibers can be dyed, offering brands design flexibility.
• The antimicrobial sector has been gaining in importance. Dow Chem- ical Co. has increased marketing of its Silvadur fabric additive that inhibits microbial growth and the buildup of microbes on fabric surfaces that can damage the material. New sportswear brand Silversport, like Silvadur, incorporates natural silver, which has an established association with eliminating odor-causing bacteria. Silverclean also helps products stay clean and odor-free between washes, promoting water conservation.
• Unifi Inc. has enhanced usage of its Sorbtek fiber that provides permanent moisture management through a proprietary “Catch, Move, Release” technology that absorbs moisture, moves it away from the skin and releases it for quick evaporation. It is incorporated into the staple fiber, making its moisture-management properties permanent. Sorbtek yarns also have inherent soil release properties to protect against everyday soils, such as sweat and grass, as well as being wrinkle-resistant.