The textile manufacturer, which recently hosted a 150th jubilee at its headquarters in Sevelen, Switzerland, won the DesignPrize Switzerland 2017/2018 in the textile category for its heatable E-soft-shell now available on the market.
The E-soft-shell is a heated fabric that can be cut to size without affecting the embedded technology and is primarily suited for clothing used in outdoor activities and motorcycling.
“We see the E-soft-shell as just one product possibility with our advances in working with conductive yarns in weaving and knitting,” said Stephen Kerns, president of Schoeller Textil North America. “We see wearable tech options as becoming more of the expected performance and not the called-out feature. Our R&D team works closely with our customers, along with inventors, universities and institutions to always explore further needs and outcomes.”
Kerns said winning the DesignPrize award validates and reinforces its mission where “innovation is at the core of Schoeller’s DNA. We are always looking for what more is possible and never satisfied with a basic offering.” As Kerns pointed out, there continues to be a heightened interest in high performance textiles, beginning at the fiber level with special properties to then create one-of-a-kind weaves and knits.
“Our product management and R&D teams work very closely together and have an unusual level of freedom and budget to create with,” Kerns said. “In addition, we have constant interaction with sizeable companies looking for sophisticated textile solutions that we have the ability to deliver. The combination enables Schoeller to remain a leader in the category for so many years.”
Schoeller & Sohne was founded by Rudolph Schoeller in Zurich as Switzerland’s first worsted yarn spinning mill in 1868. Schoeller gradually expanded its business, and in 1954 purchased a textile mill in the St. Gallen Rhine Valley that now serves as the company’s headquarters. That mill would soon after launch the first elastic fabric for the ski industry under the name “skifans,” which is also considered to be the world’s first soft shell fabric.
A pioneer in textile sustainability, Schoeller in 1994 was the first activewear and leisurewear manufacturer to receive Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. Schoeller also served as one of the founding developers of the globally established Bluesign system, and it became the first company to receive the Bluesign certification in 2008.
“Being able to reflect upon 150 years of textile experience, customer relationships and progress is an incredibly proud moment for our entire Schoeller family. This milestone is one for which we would like to thank our consumers, customers and partners who have continually supported and inspired our advancements,” said Schoeller CEO Siegfried Winkelbeiner. “Protecting and supporting millions of consumers in doing what they love most, and keeping a close eye on the next level of innovation every day drives us on and gives us tremendous fulfillment, just as I am sure it did for Rudolph Schoeller so many years ago.”
Schoeller’s innovations include its NanoSphere, Coldblack and Corkshell technologies. NanoSphere is a finishing technology that provides a natural self-cleaning effect and a high level of water and dirt repellence. Coldback reduces heat build-up when exposed to the sun, and Corkshell offers thermal insulation in functional fabrics
Ecorepel Bio and 3XDRY Bio—PFC-free technologies based on renewable raw materials—were introduced in 2016. In 2012, Schoeller joined forces with the Eschler Group, experts in tailored, knitted fabric solutions, to offer an extensive range of complementary fabric options to its joint brand partners.
Schoeller’s Sevelen headquarters includes production facilities housing its weaving, dyeing, lamination and coating departments, as well as the state-of-the-art research, development and testing laboratory. For its more than 500 brand partners in 50 countries, Schoeller produces more than 6 million meters of performance textiles on average per year at its mills in Sevelen and Balingen, Germany.