The maker of Sheertex’s rip- and run-resistant hosiery is back with a material innovation that advances the swimwear category.
Montreal’s SRTX has debuted Watertex, a hydrophobic, fast-drying knit swimsuit material dries in half the time of standard options. The Canadian company’s swimwear retains 60 percent less water after submersion, it claimed in a Kickstarter campaign launched this month.
With just one product—a black one-piece swimsuit—the brand has already surpassed its $20,000 fundraising goal by over $11,000. The innovative knit material, made up of Lycra and a “custom polymer,” is “breathable and probably far more pleasant to touch compared to garments that rely on membranes to be water-repellent,” SRTX executive vice president Sam Colby told Sourcing Journal. The material’s high surface tension forms a non-absorbent barrier. “Although it does feel different compared to a traditional suit, we believe the technology trade-off more than makes up for it,” Colby said.
Watertex was created through in-house development and testing at STRX’s Canadian headquarters plus collaboration with textile suppliers. “Our R&D process involves our product designers and developers sourcing and testing several combinations of yarn to knit in-house to get the maximum performance without sacrificing hand-feel and aesthetics,” she added. Once the company had proof of concept, it worked with fabric manufacturers “to push boundaries,” for example, “to realize our vision we collaborated with one of our suppliers to develop a custom machine to finish the garment.”
For its introductory launch, the new swim brand chose “a classic style that we believe will resonate with a wide range of people,” Colby said. Ultimately, it aims to develop a range including board shorts and two-piece swimsuits. “We believe there is a huge opportunity to bring Watertex’s water-repellent technology to other brands and categories,” Colby added when asked whether the company plans to license the technology.
SRTX returned to Kickstarter to raise awareness on a platform with a track record of success. “It’s where we launched Sheertex, and it felt like a nice callback to our roots,” she said. The company has sold more than 1.9 million units to date since it brought its “Rip-Resist” tights to market in 2017. “Kickstarter is a platform where people are early adopters and comfortable taking a risk on products that are different from anything else in the market,” Colby said.
The platform also allows SRTX to illustrate Watertex technology through video, graphics, performance metrics and company data, including information about production and sustainability. Swimsuits will be produced at the SRTX factory in Montreal without DWRs or other chemical coatings. The first manufacturing batch is expected to ship by summer 2023 in recyclable packaging, and will be available in seven sizes ranging from XS-3XL. People who pledge more than $275 to the campaign can become beta testers for the project, while a donation of $225 or more earns access to the second production batch.
While Colby said the company anticipates “some crossover” between the Watertex and Sheertex customer bases, “They are distinct brands that bring different value, and we want to give our newest brand space to build awareness and recognition.”