Wednesday, September 3, 2008




Words, Images Judith Ecochard and courtesy of respective companies.

There was a lot of exhibitors at the OR Tradeshow... showing innovative materials and products set to hit the market.

But the segment of this all encompassing industry that elicited our most gee whiz moments…goes to the fabric manufacturers.

PolarMax™ Top

And what particularly impressed us were the number of eco fabrics (made from sustainable crops, organic, and/or recycled materials) that performed as well as the more ‘toxic’ variants available…and at reasonable price points too.

Cotton Inc’s exhibit featured one of the most exciting technological breakthroughs in textiles- TransDRY™ …that will probably change the way active types will view cotton and performance wear-FOREVER.

A revolutionary (patented) product, TransDRY™ is completely natural, is 100% made from domestic cotton textile, and is the perfect soft fabric for people allergic to wearing synthetics (or just hate to like our perspiring bro’).

What impressed us about this natural alternative, under development for FIVE YEARS, are its moisture management abilities to spread perspiration over a large area- and dry quickly. In other words, TransDRY™ has “a one-way transfer performance” capability that moves the wet stuff from the inside of a garment to the outside -so obviously; it’s more naturally comfortable too.

For some more reasons why TransDry™ is so ‘cool’ – we got an education (that we’re summarizing) via Cotton Inc.’s strategic partner- Longworth Industries’ Director of Marketing, William ‘Trey” Harris.

To begin with, TransDRY™ is a truly hatched from a sustainable fiber (green)- grown domestically by U.S. farmers, cotton- that’s been specially processed at the fiber stage.

As mentioned prior, TransDRY™ has classic moisture management properties that are comparable to purely (or predominantly) synthetic fibers/yarns/fabrics…meaning it’s highly anti-microbial, non-chafing, and wicking. But better in a very meaningful way-it’s flame retardant. And the military is first on the customer list for garments made from this textile.

Notes Harris, TransDRY™ provides the military “with a true moisture management next-to-skin garment (high priority often necessity) that does not have the risk of synthetic melt/drip when exposed to fire or flash over (a very big concern for soldiers considering that the highest rates of recent injury are burn related, and eliminating the exacerbation of these injuries by the introduction of molten synthetic materials is understandably a very high priority).”

IMHO: Military=most important customer base.

BACKSTORY: Longworth, a company that makes base layer garments and performance wear (from Polarmax and XGO) that’s totally made in USA production facilities-is gearing up TransDRY™ tops for the military this winter – and lucky for the rest of us… is aiming to launch retail garments made from said textile- in Fall ’09.

We see TransDRY™ being used by every manufacturer of children’s clothing and Firefighters’ garments worldwide, eliminating the funky, albeit protective chemicals that currently coat the fabrics used.



Launched in the early 80’s as a viable alternative to down because it retains its thermal efficiency when wet- PrimaLoft® and PrimaLoft Yarn® is used in many industries that manufacture performance wear, high fashion, sleeping bags-camping and home furnishings. It’s stellar characteristics as a lightweight and insulating fiber that offers superior warmth- appeal to many, many major top performing big and small name companies (from Arc’Teryx to Timberland.

We liked the new Primaloft Eco Yarn that’s a blend of 50% virgin PrimaLoft fibers with 50% fibers made from post-consumer products (plastic bottles) and post-industrial plastic waste. It’s silky soft…but has the same technical wicking qualities that active types demand for their base layers as insulating lining in footwear.

Another new fabric has Primaloft mixed with merino wool for the best moisture management capabilities-that is washable and dryable. Notably, Lorpen socks debuted a line made from this comfortable and soft textile with a “no-feel” toe seam and wrinkle free fit…at OR.


As Sierra Designs opined..."a dry set of mittens can mean the difference between a whining belay and kicked-back enjoyment. ...For warm digits we rely on green-conscious post-consumer recycled PrimaLoft Eco-lofty heat like down, but it performs in the wet, too."
Also launching at OR was a comfy, light as a feather fabric made from 100% organic cotton and Primaloft that’s breathable and dries quickly. We expect the hundreds of happy garment makers to quickly adopt this fabric for their performance wear lines.



The “quick dry benefits and comfort” of the original COOLMAX® fabric went greener…or “from plastic bottles to wicking wonder.”

We got the scoop on the socks (made by Injinji and DeFeet) using this innovative textile from the new INVISTA™(parent company) CoolMax™ spokes’ dude, Andrew Skurka-who road tested/hiked across Iceland in an eco pair (or two).

Interesting for us was our chat with Bruce Rowley, Global Brand and Communications Manager of CoolMax Ecotech who enlightened us on a host of factoids about eco anything. Like…

“It doesn’t take more energy to recycle---it takes 70% less (energy) to recycle than to process virgin polymer.”

INVISTA waited for a “reliable source for recycled material” (from PET plastic) before launching CoolMax Ecotech…though the “technology’s been out there.

And…costs additions to clothing using CoolMax Ecotech™ are minimal.

We actually demo-ed a polo shirt made for this innovative fabric---and frankly, we could not tell the difference between the eco version- feel and performance wise- and the original CoolMax tee we have.

In other words, INVISTA “did it right.”