Versatile Performance Fabrics for Upscale Sportswear
by Kathlyn Swantko
The sportswear market is poised for an upscale makeover, as new fiber, fabric, and yarn developments make inroads into the performance fabric market. These high-end innovative technologies have the potential to take traditional performance sportswear to new levels. Lifestyle changes are driving these upscale changes. Consumers want apparel that can easily work with them, going from a professional environment into sports activities and vice versa. They want choices that are not only fashionable, but also functional, and provide the desired comfort to carry them through the day. Current sportswear trends reflect a growing interest in “upscale” sportswear that incorporates high-tech qualities being used in more expensive apparel.
The FabricLink Network reviews several fibers and technologies that have future potential in a “new upscale” traditional sportswear market, as seen at the recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017, held in Salt Lake City.
DuPont™ Sorona® enhances the performance of natural
textiles used for casual sportswear.
DuPont™ Sorona® is a patented polymer fiber that can be made into clothing that can go anywhere, because fabrics made from Sorona® can go anywhere. The apparel is eco-efficient, inherently comfortable, strong, soft, and easy care. Made from 37% plant-based ingredients, Sorona® can be dyed at lower temperatures which decreases energy use. Sorona® is also UV- and chlorine-resistant, so clothing made with Sorona® maintains its shape and color over time, wear and washes. The yarn can be used as a companion yarn to other synthetics and naturals, adding stretch and recovery where needed. Sorona® staple fiber blends well with fibers like cotton, wool, rayon, bamboo, lyocell and viscose because it provides superior performance without sacrificing the aesthetics of the blended yarn. Sorona® comfort stretch staple also works well in insulation applications.
Sensil®, a nylon 6.6 brand fiber developed by NILIT®, was showcased for its ability to deliver performance, beauty, intelligence, and quality to the world. The Sensil® fiber is NILIT’s response to “answering the demand for today’s consumer, who values quality over quality”. From intelligent denim to high-performance activewear to luxury lingerie, Sensil® fulfills its promise to today’s consumers, who make a smart investment in their clothing.
The benefits of Sensil® include natural odor-resistance, moisture management, durable abrasion-resistance, UV-resistance, thermoregulation, breathable, and is lightweight yet strong. The fiber partners perfectly with spandex to provide soft, comfortable support. Engineered compression garments can be made into 3D knits, using Sensil® yarn, and air-jet textured yarns give a cotton soft comfort to high performance fabrics. Sensil® also provides deep, vibrant colors to dyed or printed fabrics.
SINTERAMA's NEWLIFE Polygiene® Yarn is an eco-friendly high-tech product, born through a collaboration between Polygiene®, a leader in odor control and freshness technology, and the Sinterama Group. NEWLIFE Polygiene® is a continuous filament yarn with the consumer benefits of odor control, easy care, and longer lasting garments. The performance is polymer-intrinsic, therefore permanent. Performance will not decrease after repeated washings and dry cleaning, and is not altered by exposure to light, heat and humidity.
Polygiene® Permanent Odor Control, a silver chloride derived from recycled silver from electronic waste, inhibits the growth of microbes, such as bacteria and fungus, that cause odor, earning the “Wear More...Wash Less®” endorsement. NEWLIFE Polygiene® is 100% mechanically recycled polyester yarn certified and fully traceable made in Italy.
Constructed with Loctote's FLAKnit™
fabric using Honeywell Spectra® Ultra-High
Molecular Weight Polyethylene, this bag protects
from thieves and even glows in the dark!
Spectra® Fiber, although not new to textile industry, it is a new fiber for the performance sportswear market. Building on a decades-long successful history in the industrial/military markets and scientific engineering to expand its horizons, Spectra® is now finding a new home in the upscale technical sportswear market. Pound-for-pound, Spectra® fiber is 15 times stronger than steel. However, despite its strength and performance, it is extremely lightweight, and is even light enough to float on water.
With precise fabric design and engineering, Spectra® fiber delivers an exceptional resistance to tears and abrasions. That's why Spectra® gear works harder and lasts longer. Spectra® also has an inherent cooling factor and doesn't hold heat. The fiber feels cool to the touch and naturally pulls heat away from the body. The same is true for moisture-regain. Spectra® doesn't absorb water, and it won't weigh the wearer down while running, hiking, or biking. In addition, fabrics made with Spectra® can be designed to be soft, stretchy, or stiff, as needed. The fiber can be easily blended with other man-made fibers to achieve a wide range of colors and durable properties. The Spectra® team is eager to work with partners to develop solutions that meet desired challenges.
Gore-Tex® Active provides next-to-skin
comfort during and immediately after periods
of high activity.
Gore® introduced it new generation of GORE-TEX® Active fabric. Designed for intense aerobic demands, GORE-TEX® Active offers a new combination of face fabrics, membrane construction, and backers, which delivers the waterproof and windproof performance of a hard shell with the next-to-skin comfort of a soft shell. The new GORE-TEX® Active significantly improves comfort and durability over the current version of 3-Layer Active, while reducing weight by 20 percent, but still maintaining the fabric's high standard of waterproofness and breathability. The collection of fabrics, which weighs between 65 and 130 g/m2, the 65-gram fabric is the lightest 3-Layer waterproof-breathable construction ever offered by Gore.