Textile companies are set to debut their latest product innovations at the Outdoor Retailer show this week in Denver.
Many of the product introductions focus on sustainable developments and performance attributes. Among the companies presenting fresh materials and technologies are Unifi and its Repreve brand. Acteev will also unveil a collaboration with Coalatree.
Unifi Inc., makers of Repreve and other recycled and synthetic yarns, is launching an enhanced supply chain certification and two new products at Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market taking place Jan. 26-28 in Denver.
Unifi said these additional innovations–U Trust Product Certification, Repreve SmartDye technology and Berry Compliant Knit Cord–enhance and support its commitment to sustainability, transparency and customer service.
The U Trust Product Certification allows brands to get an additional level of transparency for their products made with Repreve recycled fibers and builds on other Unifi certifications, such as U Trust Fabric Certification, Scientific Certification Systems, Oeko-Tex and the Global Recycle Standard certification.
As a complement to these existing safeguards, the U Trust Product Certification allows brands to aggregate multiple Repreve certified fabric components in a product and leverages the physical tracer FiberPrint technology that can be audited, proven and found in the product throughout its life.
“Our newest certification gives brands additional peace of mind that goes beyond what a purely transaction-based certification can provide,” said Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s senior vice president of commercialization. “This certification’s credibility can be validated by external parties. The U Trust Product Certification validator tool also introduces new functionality for corporate brands and retailers into their brands’ certifications.”
Unifi is also rolling out Repreve SmartDye lower-temperature dyeable recycled polyester. The product yields substantial energy savings and reduces cycle time when compared to standard polyester, according to Unifi. It is available in Repreve polyester staple and filament fibers and improves dye cycle efficiency and achieves up to 30 percent energy savings without compromising a fabric’s performance based on Unifi package dyeing equipment.
In addition, the company is introducing Berry Compliant Knit Cord, a high-quality synthetic cord that’s perfect for comfortable ear loops for standard, surgical, KN95 and N95 respirator masks. The soft and durable product is packaged on yarn bobbins, not loose in boxes. Customizability is key for this product, as it’s available in nylon and polyester, multiple colors and patterns, and in a variety of sizes.
“We are listening to our customers and helping to meet their evolving needs through these three new innovations,” Unifi CEO Eddie Ingle said. “What makes Repreve different is that it’s transparent, traceable and certified, and we continue to expand on those attributes. We’re proud that our new products are sustainably made using our USA-based vertically integrated supply chain. This, along with our new certification, will enable our customers to continue to tell eco-friendly stories about their brands.”
Through Repreve, Unifi has transformed more than 30 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for new apparel, footwear, home goods and other consumer products. Unifi continually innovates technologies to meet consumer needs in moisture management, thermal regulation, antimicrobial, UV protection, stretch, water resistance and enhanced softness.
Unifi also announced on Tuesday that it was recognizing Walmart for purchasing the equivalent of 1 billion post-consumer plastic bottles worth of Repreve recycled performance fibers. Walmart is now a part of the highest tier of Repreve’s Champions of Sustainability program: the Billion Bottle Circle.
Walmart first purchased recycled PET products from Unifi in 2012. In 2019, the retailer announced a goal to source 50 percent recycled polyester fibers for its private brand textiles by 2025, and since then, Repreve volume accelerated by over 200 percent through Walmart’s suppliers and partner manufacturers.
Acteev and Coalatree launched the Suray Sun Shirt, a zinc-powered shirt designed to fight unwanted odors and the sun’s damaging rays, at the Outdoor Retailer Show.
Using Acteev’s natural zinc technology, the sustainably made sun shirts pack an odor-fighting punch combined with a 50-plus UPF rating. Since the technology is naturally embedded into the fabric versus coated on, it adds durability to the finish.
“Coalatree is about creating eco-minded apparel and gear for people who love the outdoors, and with its natural zinc and permanent protection, Acteev is a perfect complement for our brand,” Coalatree founder Jacob Charlie Bessey said. “We’re proud that the new Suray Sun Shirt not only protects the wearer from the sun but also stays fresh by fighting off odors. That means you can do more and wash less.”
Acteev locks in the environmentally safe antimicrobial protection of zinc ions within superior nylon 6,6, creating yarns and fabrics that naturally provide UPF 50-plus protection and combat odor-causing bacteria, mold and fungi. The technology protects textiles, from base layers and outerwear to sleeping bags, using one of nature’s own elements.
Unlike chemical applications that are coated or sprayed on, Acteev does not rely on any post-production treatment or after-market process. Instead, Acteev’s zinc ions are embedded directly into the matrix of the molecules, providing protection that lasts the life of the product. This means Acteev performance textiles require less water in the manufacturing process, while ensuring they remain as effective as day one.
“We are so proud to partner with Coalatree for the creation of the first activewear garment made with Acteev,” said Nikki Huffman, Acteev’s business development leader for textiles. “Since we met at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show last year, they have operated with top speed and agility while never compromising on quality.”
Acteev-powered Coalatree Sun Shirts will be available March 15 for pre-order.