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Levi’s Uses Water Repellent Finish for Functional Denim

Functional denims are quickly becoming a new trend in the urban lifestyle. Levi Strauss selected the fluorocarbon-free durable water repellent (DWR) coating, called Ecorepel, from Schoeller Technologies for its new Commuter Collection. With the urban cyclist in mind, Levi’s selected the technology for its water and dirt repelling properties.

Schoeller Technologies explained in a report, “As the lines between sports and fashion continue to blur, textile technologies that deliver performance properties are becoming common in lifestyle and urban products. In particular, denim fabrics are becoming more functional through treatments that repel water and mud so that consumers have the opportunity to wear fashionable denim jeans, in any weather conditions, or while participating in most day-to-day activities.”

Ecorepel biomimics the protective function found on waterfowl feathers. The environmentally defiant finish is based on paraffin that resembles honeycomb-like chains by wrapping around the fibers. This process reduces the surface tension of the textile, causing mud and water to merely slip off the fabric. It is completely free from fluorocarbons, is biodegradable, and sustains a wash and abrasion resistance so as not to affect the hand or breathability of the fabric.

Hans U. Kohn, COO of Schoeller Technologies, said, “Urban lifestyle and textile function – these two terms no longer have to be used independently. Our textile technologies are universally applicable, which allows us to develop an out-of-the-box look and to develop new ideas and combinations in the area of textile finishing.”

Ecorepel contains neither perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) nor perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), which are potentially toxic by-products of some fluorocarbon chemistry, with PFOS actually being banned in Europe.