In a Word — Sustainability
By Kathlyn Swantko
Sustainability remains the dominant theme throughout the outdoor industry. Product developers are working with more natural, plant-based, and recycled materials to reduce waste, and to reduce the use of natural resources. Designers continue to develop new "green" fashion lines to keep up with increasing consumer demands for sustainable garments that also have a social impact message.
It has become important that outdoor brands have a message of corporate social responsibility (CSR), something which has also now spread to other industries as well. "Consumers across all industries want to see a visual social stand on sustainability from both manufacturers and retailers," says Matt Powell, global industry expert/VP for NPD Group. "Retailers and manufacturers can't assume that their customers know that their products are sustainable. They must tell them!"
The FabricLink Network found several new sustainable, innovative textiles exhibiting at ORSS'19 for both the outdoor market and mainstream apparel.
DuPont™ Sorona® showcased new ways brands are utilizing Sorona® fibers in various applications at ORSS'19.
In footwear, the brand ECOALF utilizes Sorona® shape memory fabric as an innovative upper material. Sorona® fibers bring a range of high-performance properties to apparel and footwear applications – in this product the Sorona® shape memory provides colorfastness, excellent hand-feel, and long-lasting shape retention to the design.
Also in the footwear space, VIVOBAREFOOT’s new line of performance sneakers, Primus Lite BIO, launches summer 2019 and contains products that are all nearly 50-percent plant-based. They achieved this using eco-efficient materials throughout the line including, DuPont™ Sorona®, Susterra® propanediol, Bio-PDO™ TPU, and ALGIX® Bloom® Algae EVA foam. These component ingredients are turned into tough soles and stretchy soft upper materials. Learn more here.
The Sorona® brand booth also highlighted the many ways mills and apparel brands are working towards replacing spandex throughout their product lines by using Sorona®. Unlike spandex, Sorona® has a mechanical stretch, bringing long lasting stretch and recovery to fabrics used in everything from swimwear and intimates to athleisure and casual wear. The stretch from Sorona® fibers maintains its performance overtime and doesn’t break down through wear and washing, or exposure to UV or chlorine. Sorona® is also recyclable through a regular polyester stream.
A new partnership announced at the ORSS was a collaboration between DuPont and NIPI™, makers of Thindown®. Thindown® is made from high quality, sterilized, RDS-certified traditional down. A proprietary process evenly distributes down clusters to form a down sheet, contained between two thin layers of scrim. This process allows the material to keep its shape and take the form of a fabric. It also has a smooth structure that lets it drape and follow the contour of any design silhouette. Because Thindown® is in a fabric form, baffling is not needed to keep the down in place and thereby eliminates the stitching that creates cold spots -- greatly boosting the thermal insulation. The collaboration between the two brands explores new developments to seamlessly combine the softness, drape, stretch recovery, and other high-performance properties of DuPont™ Sorona® fibers and down, utilizing the proprietary process from Thindown® to create a new category of a blended down insulated fabric.
HeiQ announced its new HeiQ Fresh technology. HeiQ Fresh products offer silver-free and less-silver odor control options for brands that are looking to reduce or remove silver usage from their products. All products in the HeiQ Fresh family are bluesign® approved.
HeiQ Fresh FFL is a bio-based amino sugar polymer that is silver-free and not an antimicrobial. The FFL product removes the fat and protein from sweat, thereby eliminating the ability of bacteria to grow. The amino sugar polymer also binds the fiber, allowing odor to be easily washed off at low temperature and prevents permastink.
HeiQ Pure SPQR is a 90% bio-based option for odor control that works with a minimal amount of recycled silver. Similar to HeiQ Fresh FFL, HeiQ Pure SPQR also removes fat and protein from sweat, eliminating the bacteria that causes odor to grow. With HeiQ Pure SPQR, the brands get more freshness with less silver.
Toray has taken a stand against global issues, such as the depletion of resources and climate change caused by growing carbon dioxide emissions. Toray's new "Green Innovation Projects" continues its advancement toward the company's goal of building a carbon-neutral society, and promoting its environmentally conscious business. Toray's new Ultrasuede®PX fabric is the world's first non-woven microfiber suede, made partially of plant-based polyester using non-edible plants. The microfiber used for Ultrasuede®PX is made of 30% plant-based polyester. This means that 14% of Ultrasuede®PX's full construction process is plant-based.
PrimaLoft® Inc. debuted PrimaLoft® Bio, the first synthetic insulation made from 100% recycled biodegradable fibers at ORWM in November '18. Developed over the past four years by PrimaLoft's team of scientists and engineers, PrimaLoft achieved this textile breakthrough without affecting the performance characteristics of the insulation. In accelerated test conditions simulating a landfill environment (ASTM D5511), PrimaLoft® Bio fibers have reached near complete biodegradation (80.3%) in 394 days, a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester, under the same conditions. This proprietary technology does not change the performance, look or feel of the garment, and is expected to be available to consumers in fall 2020.