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Performance Fibers and Fabrics Tackle Sustainability and Durability

Undeterred by the market disruptions presented by the global pandemic, fiber and fabric producers are rolling out innovative materials with a focus on sustainability and durability.

PrimaLoft Inc. is partnering with 15 outdoor sports, fashion, lifestyle and home furnishing brands to introduce PrimaLoft Bio to consumers this fall. PrimaLoft Bio is a biodegradable, 100 percent recycled synthetic insulation and performance fabric.

The first styles with PrimaLoft Bio will be available to consumers in upcoming fall 2020 collections from brands such as 4F, ESKA, Goldwin, Herno, Horsefeathers, Icebug, Jack Wolfskin, Klättermusen, Maloja, Namuk, Norrøna, Reusch, Roeckl, Ternua, Traumina and Viking. Brands including Helly Hansen, Houdini, Montane and Rossignol will follow with their own styles in upcoming seasons.

“The prevalent use of plastic in our society has a huge impact on our environment because of its inability to break down over time,” Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft, said. “PrimaLoft Bio has been specifically designed to biodegrade in the environments where most plastics eventually end up: landfills and ocean water.”

PrimaLoft Bio is comprised of high-performance fibers made from 100 percent recycled materials, mainly plastic bottles, that biodegrade in specific environments such as landfills, oceans and wastewater. Insulation and fabric made from PrimaLoft Bio fibers provide the same high-quality, durable performance as products with virgin polyester fibers, the company noted, providing lightweight warmth and comfortable protection for a variety of activities and weather conditions.

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When PrimaLoft Bio is exposed to oceanwater, wastewater or landfill environments, naturally occurring microbes break down the fibers to their natural elements, without leaving behind any harmful waste, according to the company. PrimaLoft Bio fibers reach near complete biodegradation in under two years, while standard polyester remains almost completely intact.

“PrimaLoft Bio is an important step forward in providing sustainable solutions for microfiber pollution throughout the entire life-cycle of a product,” Joyce added.

PrimaLoft is also partnering with fabric manufacturer Shanghai Challenge Textile Co. to produce PrimaLoft Performance Fabrics.

“We view our partnership with Shanghai Challenge through the lens of two primary goals,” Joyce said. “To expand our technology platforms into the fabric side of our business and to collaborate with a recognized industry leader in knit goods to offer cutting edge material technology to customers and consumers at a competitive price point.”

Shanghai Challenge will bring its expertise to the PrimaLoft Performance Fabric business by managing the production and operational services for all PrimaLoft fabric products. PrimaLoft will continue to lead fabric innovation and material technology developments, such as the PrimaLoft Bio fabric.

As demand for sustainable materials continues to rise, Hyosung is presenting its expanded multi-function Regen collection of GRS-certified recycled spandex, nylon and polyester fibers made with 100 percent reclaimed waste at Interfilière Connect, the online edition of the European innerwear trade fair.

Hyosung’s Creora spandex division is also launching Creora Color+, which it said has the same performance stretch characteristics as its flagship fiber, Creora Power Fit, but with the added benefit of providing richer colors when blended with cotton and cellulose yarns used for intimate apparel, activewear and ready-to-wear.

“As regular spandex does not take color well, it is a challenge to achieve all-over, rich color when dyeing it with natural fibers such as cotton, rayon, and modal,” Simon Whitmarsh-Knight, Hyosung EMEA marketing director, said. “With new Creora Color+, brands can now offer consumers fashionable, colorful apparel made with natural fibers without ever having to worry about the dreaded grin-through.”

In the realm of durability, Cordura NYCO fabric, chosen for its durability and high-performance characteristics, is being used to produce the next generation of highly advanced uniforms for the Royal Marines Commandos.

The uniforms are designed and manufactured by Crye Precision and distributed by Level Peaks in a contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.

Britain's Royal Marines Commandos will now find Cordura fabric in their kits.
Britain’s Royal Marines Commandos will now find Cordura fabric in their kits. Cordura

The U.K.’s renowned Royal Marines Commandos are considered one of the toughest and most elite forces in the world, operating from polar regions to the tropics. The Cordura fabric is used in the new uniforms that are now being issued as part of the Future Commando Force initiative.

This new uniform comprises individual combat and field ensembles made from Crye Precision’s comfort weave MultiCam VTX Ripstop stretch Cordura NYCO fabric using Invista’s T420HT high-tenacity nylon 6,6 fiber blended with cotton.

Along with delivering the enhanced durability required for the commandos in action, this fabric is a foundation for a new uniform that is lighter weight, has comfort stretch, has higher tear strength, dries quickly and offers improved breathability versus typical nylon and cotton blend uniforms, meaning it can serve wearers in the most extreme and hostile environments.

“The next generation uniform is always our focus and the fabric is always the starting point,” Gregg Thompson, co-founder of Crye Precision, said. “We need people who understand what we’re trying to do, who are willing to partner with us to help us get there. For us, Cordura is that partner. They set the technical standard and pretty much our entire line has some kind of Cordura element in it. It’s so reliable, it just performs in every situation.”

Allen Mortimer, military EMEA director for Invista Cordura, said through close consultation with military experts, the company is constantly evolving Cordura fabrics to face new scenarios in different theatres of conflict.

“We’re proud to know that this fabric now provides NATO troops with a tougher way to handle the toughest missions,” Mortimer said.