Athleisure Apparel at ORSM '15
by Kathlyn Swantko
This season’s Outdoor Retailer was buzzing with excitement as 1,600 brands, including 376 new brands were present at ORSM '15, held August 5-8 in Salt Lake City. With close to 300 raw materials suppliers, the Outdoor Retailer show included the largest collection of textile suppliers, along with the largest selection of outdoor products in a single US show.
The 28,000 attendees had the opportunity to see the latest developments in sports' styling and technical textiles, with retailers able to make their choices of what would be the next hot buys. "Outdoor Retailer is where we as retailers come to see the latest sports trends, and we can also personally see what’s going to be happening next year!" said Jeremy Oyen, Program Manager of Outdoor Programs at REI.
For specialty sports retailers, athleisure apparel is driving sales in the sports and recreation market. Athleisure is defined as a fashion trend where activewear clothing, initially designed for athletic workouts in a gymnasium is worn outside of the gym.
According to NPD Group’s "Sports & Leisure Trends" presentation held at the show, one of the important fashion developments evident at the show focused on today’s status within the sports and recreation market. While an active lifestyle has been hyped as a way to improve one’s wellbeing and emotional state, participation in sports has grown to become an outlet for personal achievements, community commitment, and fashion statements.
"The athleisure trend is on fire! The culture of sport is evolving, as fashion blends with athletics," explains Matt Powell, VP of industry analysis for sports and leisure trends at NPD Group. "Sports athletes have become fashion icons. 'Social fitness' remains a key driver for the athleisure market, and people become much more conscious of what they wear during their sports’ activities."
As the fashion trends change, so must the focus of textile manufacturers. And, the creativity presented by textile exhibitors at ORSM’15 did not disappoint! The FabricLink Network highlights some new athleisure textile developments showcased by Summer Market supplier exhibitors.
CORDURA® brand fabric showcased over 200 new fabric advances, including the latest Micro Naturalle™ fabric technology, innovative blends with modal and polypropylene, and an array of hybrid CORDURA® fabric developments with enhanced surface aesthetics and textures. In addition, CORDURA® brand announced its second designer collaboration. This season’s collection for Today’s Modern Outdoor Woman, is designed by Michelle Rose from Struktur Studio, and highlights the softer side of CORDURA® lifestyle apparel fabrics. Helping to make the CORDURA® brand collection aesthetically modern, Rose used new Sewfree and Exoflex film bonding technologies from Bemis Worldwide, along with innovative garment production processes from Youngone.
"Today’s ‘woman’ is not one-dimensional," noted Cindy McNaull, CORDURA® Global Brand Director. "She's active, yet feminine; she encompasses it all. Our collaborative goal provides today’s outdoor woman with clothes that reflect her identity and confidence and supports the growing demand for stylish, yet performance-inspired apparel for women!"
Moving from bags and backpacks into the bedroom, CORDURA® also featured its new collection of innovative fabrics for intimate apparel, daywear, and sleepwear. These beautiful fine denier, soft fabrics bring a whole new dimension of development into the CORDURA® brand family of versatile fabrics.
Concept III's David Parkes reports, "There is a lot of energy around coolcore® laminates and Porelle® laminates from Dri-Tex." Coolcor'’s patented, chemical-free fabric technology uses a unique combination of fibers and cross-sections for three functions: wicking, moisture-transport, and controlling the rate at which moisture evaporates from the garment and cools, which reduces the fabric’s surface temperature up to 30% lower than skin temperature.
Porelle’s high performance membranes deliver water and wind-proof protection while providing true breathabiiity and comfort. The fabrics, specifically formulated for the outdoor and sports industries, are technical- and performance-driven, and can be customized with technical membranes, providing alternatives to high-demand fabrics in the marketplace.
Polartec, LLC, a premium provider of innovative textile solutions, announced it has recycled its billionth bottle. The Oeko-Tex 100 and Bluesign® AG certified company has been a longtime proponent of eco-conscious manufacturing techniques and is thrilled to reach this milestone. Polartec has been able to make high quality fleece using post-consumer recycling content through its partnership with Unifi Inc. The companies developed REPREVE 100, a yarn using 100 percent clear plastic bottles is identical in quality to fabrics made from virgin polyester. REPREVE 100 is offered in a large variety of colors and styles that fit the demands of any brand looking to incorporate an eco-friendly element into their garments.
Bemis Worldwide launched several new innovative products at ORSM '15, including its Overlay Films, Seam Reinforcement Tapes, and its Terra and Fashion Meets Function Collections for athleisurewear. "Bemis is committed to providing the design and innovation community with the products they need to elevate their designs through bonding," said Steve Howard, Chief Executive Officer of Bemis Worldwide.
The Bemis® Overlay Films are specifically engineered for stretch fabrics with both matt and textured finishes. The new Seam Reinforcement Tapes add strength, and can be used over seams for both reinforcement and embellishment purposes. The Terra Collection is for natural fibers including wool, cotton, and cellulosic fibers to provide inherent comfort, aesthetic and anti-odor characteristics It can also used to add detail to heavier fabrics like fleece and french terry fabrics.