Innovative Fabric Developments for a New Outdoor Consumer
BY KATHY SWANTKO
“Driven by the 80 million Millennial consumers, along with the younger Gen-Z generation, born in the mid-90s and expected to reach 84.7 million by 2020, today's primary shoppers groups have a See now—wear now’ buying attitude. They prefer to purchase clothing that no one else is wearing,” states Matt Powell, VP/ senior industry analyst for the NPD Group. Since uniqueness is very important to Millennials and Gen-Zers, the larger brands find themselves conceding some of their dominance to smaller businesses with creative designers who have the ability to quickly capture new trends.
Denver Convention Center site of ORSS 2018.n order to engage these consumers, apparel manufactures need to be imaginative in offering “must have” items in their lines that attract the attention and appeal to these selective consumer groups. For these consumers, shopping is about expressing their individuality and embracing an authentic, enjoyable experience. “They expect empathy, emotion, and engagement when they shop,” explains Julia Day, Executive Director of Business Development for NPD.
Attracting these younger consumers has also become very important financial decision for retailers, since businesses across all areas of retail is struggling. According to NPD, 8,600 stores have closed this past year---the most ever in history, with more to come. Although the outdoor market has seemed to avoid these types of market downturns in the past, that’s not true anymore. At Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2018, Julia Day noted, “The U.S. Outdoor Market is a $19 billion industry, down by 6% during the past 12 months.Â The apparel side is also suffering, down 3.7% and standing at $10.3 billion.”
At Outdoor Retailer+Snow Show 2018, the FabricLink Network highlights new textile innovations designers are using to add new technical qualities to their outdoor collections, which may appeal to these demanding consumers.
Schoeller®-dryskin fabric, featuring mulesing-
free wool withecorepel bioprotection on the face
and insulating Nilit® Heat yarn, made from
coffee bean shells, on the interior.
Schoeller and Nilit showcased a new bluesign® approved Schoeller®-dryskin fabric that features insulating Nilit®Heat yarn on the interior to ensure a pleasantly warm body climate in cold weather.Â Nilit® Heat Retention yarns, made from coffee bean shells, on the inside captures and stores the body's heat, warming the wearer naturally. The yarn, produced using coffee charcoal, also possesses antimicrobial properties and offers maximum clothing comfort for all outdoor and winter activities. The same natural heat retention is available in a Schoeller®-naturetec washable, mulesing-free wool fabric with ecorepel® Bio protection as the face fabric.
Schoeller® also offered new functional lightweight fabrics for shoes, accessories or durability reinforcement in highly elastic, highly abrasion resistant and highly technical fabrics that are super-comfortable, made from Schoeller®-WB-400 soft-shell or Schoeller®-WB-formula fabrics.Also featured were new knitted fabrics for fall 2019. Pleasantly soft, bonded e3- soft-shell or e3+- membrane winter sports fabrics, and with contrasting reverse provide warming, breathable, extremely hardwearing benefits, besides providing water and dirt repellency qualities. Schoeller's e1-Flash fabrics have an abrasion-proof polyamide outer side and a structured polyester inner side with a honeycomb design to ensure outstanding perspiration transport when racing or biking.
Diagram showing how Polartec's® PowerFill™ insulation works.
Polartec unveiled its Polartec® Power Fill™ insulation technology, and products made from it by Polartec customers, at Outdoor Retailer+Snow Show. With a deep history of textile creation through the Science of Fabric, Polartec offers a “best-in-class” fill insulation technology with Polartec premium quality for cold conditions, featuring a superior combination of warmth-to-weight, durability, design flexibility, and recycled content.
Polartec® Power Fill™ is a premium insulation solution, made from a proprietary hollow-fiber construction that is soft and durable, forming thousands of air pockets that continuously capture and contain body heat. Made from 80-percent recycled content, the controlled melt process bonds the hollow fibers, eliminating the need for scrims or other stabilizers, while increasing durability and drapability. This gives Polartec® Power Fill™ unmatched warmth and design versatility, and the polyester fiber’s inherent hydrophobic properties also work to ensure that Polartec® Power Fill™ resists moisture absorption and dries quickly, while maintaining a high warmth to weight ratio.Polartec customer Triple Aught Design has become the first to market a Polartec® Power Fill™ product, via its Bastion Hoodie and M-65 liner. For Fall 2018, Polartec customers Flylow, Giro and Millet will also introduce Polartec® Power Fill™ product in their lines. Polartec® Power Fill™ is available in 60, 80, 100, 135, 170 and 200 g/m2 weights.
Cyberknit Fabrics featuring OSM Shield™ and
Cyberknit Fabrics featured new OSM Shield™ performance developments utilizing its specialty treated yarns. The first is Cyberknit’s OSM Shield™ Wick Release 1350 WICKING yarns, which utilize a PFC-Free/PFOA-Free, durable, low-surface energy treatment that revolutionizes fabrics with a permanent durability that repels soil, and provides anti-static qualities. The second is Cyberknit's OSM Shield™ NORR 6250 REPELLENT yarns that offer resistance to moisture, odor, and stains without changing the feel of the fabric. When combining cotton yarns with either of Cyberknit's these two OSM Shield™ treated synthetic or cotton yarns, the result is a comfortable cotton fabric with improved hand and quick-dry performance.Cyberknit also showcased fabrics with its Trizar™ technology. This innovative temperature-regulating technology utilizes the “science of emissivity” to optimize textiles to absorb or reflect the body's energy and return it to the body as needed. The raw materials used this technology are a natural blend of ingredients derived from quartz and other elements that reflects or absorbs energy. In warm weather, garments made with Trizar™ technology are designed to rapidly increase the UPF rating by reflecting the sunlight away from the body, keeping the wearer cool. In cold weather, the technology does the reverse by capturing and absorbing excess body heat, regulating the body temperature, and keeping the wearer warmer for longer periods of time. Trizar™ technology is a Certified Space Technology.