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Textile Firms Put More Focus on Specialized Workwear Materials

Workwear hardly gets the attention that fashion does, but fiber and fabric firms are revving up their product assortments in the field spurred by technological advancements.

Polartec exhibited at the National Safety Council Expo this week in Indianapolis, Indiana, where rolled out new fabric collections specifically engineered for contractors, electricians and oil and gas professionals.

The offerings came about after many years of development work with the U.S. military and workwear markets.

Also this month, Matrix World Group Chile launched its first collection of treated flame resistant clothing, all manufactured using fabric from Mount Vernon FR. Mount Vernon FR is part of Mount Vernon Mills’ Apparel Fabrics Group, based in Trion, Georgia, which produces denim, flame resistant and piece-dyed fabric.

Matrix World Group, based in Santiago, specializes in the technical design, development and custom manufacturing of flame resistant workwear for industrial use. Until the recent collaboration with Mount Vernon FR, the company’s primary focus has been on high-quality flame resistant clothing made from inherent flame resistant fabrics.

At Polartec, based in Andover, Massachusetts, each collection features fabric technologies that serve daily on-site work performance needs without inhibiting everyday comfort or style. They include advanced thermoregulation fabrics for hot and cold environments, with performance knits and finishes like Polartec Hardface enhanced durability.

[Read more about specialty fabrics: Specialty Fabrics a Highlight at Korean Preview NY Show]

The Polartec Workwear collections are comprised of the Contractor Collection that brings reliable comfort, lasting performance and versatility to  demanding work environments, the Electrical Collection brings a full system of flame resistant and hi-viz certified protection fabrics needed by lineman and electrician workforces, and the Oil & Gas collection brings a full system of dual-hazard FR and hi-viz certified protection technologies suited today’s oil and gas professionals.

“The workwear market is filled with heavy, stiff and uncomfortable clothing that doesn’t manage moisture well,” said Doug Kelliher, Polartec’s vice president of product management. “Recognizing how this can be a burden in the workplace, we saw an opportunity to develop fabrics specifically for modern workers, to keep them safe and comfortable in or out of work.”

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Polartec Workwear fabrics are developed, tested and proven to perform above and beyond national safety certifications.

For its part, Mount Vernon FR offers a variety of flame resistant fabrics, including denim. Fabrics can be made from cotton, nylon, Dupont’s Nomex, Lenzing’s Fiber’s Tencel or blends of these materials.

“Working with Mount Vernon FR, we have paired two of the strongest brands in the industry, allowing us to provide consumers with treated and inherent flame-resistant clothing without trade-offs in comfort or protection,” said John Funk, president of MWG Chile.

Flame resistant fabrics have become a growing and important sector for many U.S. mills that can use their expertise in fabric development but not be as concerned about price as more competitive fabrics. The use of FR clothing has expanded as people in industrial and public safety jobs seek safe but comfortable clothing, and in the general population for people in involved in activities where fire hazards may exist.

MWG Chile will offer a complete collection of UL-certified products including flame resistant shirts, pants, coveralls and jackets, all made using fabric from Mount Vernon FR. MWG’s new flame-resistant clothing line will be available across South and Central America.

“This collaboration enables us to combine our shared dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction,” said Mike Woods, vice president of FR fabrics for Mount Vernon FR.

On Friday, Mount Vernon FR said it was adding distribution in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Central and South America, joining the U.S. and Canada.

MWG Chile has been servicing Electrical Utility, Oil and Gas, and Mining companies in South America for the past three years.