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Lycra Launches Next-Gen Stretch Technology at Kingpins New York

Lycra launched its newest generation of stretch at Kingpins New York with its patented Freefit technology that gives denim and other woven fabrics a higher level of soft, easy stretch and recovery.

During a demonstration of Freefit’s compression performance at the show on Thursday, Jean Hegedus, global director for denim and wovens at Invista, Lycra’s parent company, said the technology offers brands and retailers the “potential for fewer SKUs” thanks to improved recovery and relaxed tension of the fiber stretch, as consumers could fit into a wider size range.

Lycra Freefit fabrics are made using Lycra dualFX yarns that are specially treated and then woven in specific constructions to provide the soft stretch. The demonstration used sensors to show how Freefit offers a smoother stretch and touch, and provides “a wider fit window” because they have a lower compressive force than typical stretch fabrics. Jeans made with Lycra Freefit also offer “low growth,” so garments keep their shape, don’t become baggy or feel too tight, and are easier to put on.

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The technology came as the result of consumer research that showed even though more than 65 percent of female respondents across five countries said they want jeans that are easy to move in, only 25 percent indicated the last pair of jeans they purchased allowed them that comfort. What’s more, only 22 percent of respondents said the last pair they purchased held their shape, despite 56 percent noting they wanted jeans that would.

“It’s a bit like trying to fool the laws of nature,” Hegedus said. “Typically, when you have soft, easy stretch, fabric recovery is compromised. What makes this technology so unique is that it combines two opposing concepts–soft stretch and excellent shape retention.”

Invista is working with mill partners, including Advance Denim, Soorty, Artistic Milliners and Naveena Denim Mills, to bring Lycra Freefit to the market for Spring-Summer 2020.

Lycra also previewed a new Coolmax offering at Kingpins, Coolmax Natural Touch technology. Coolmax Natural Touch uses a composite yarn structure to produce enhanced moisture management and a natural appearance and hand. The technology combines two types of Coolmax fibers–a staple and a multifilament–with cotton and Lycra fiber for cool comfort, a natural hand and an authentic aesthetic.

Invista’s Lycra unit is set to be sold to Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding, which in October 2017 agreed to purchase Invista’s Apparel & Advanced Textiles business. The deal was originally slated to close in mid-2018 and Hegedus said both companies continue to work to close the sale.