Textile Insight

May / June 2018

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May/June 2018 ~ Textile Insight • 23 FUNCTIONALITY FOR LIFE WEAR HOW TECHNICAL MEETS TREND IN TODAY'S ACTIVE WARDROBE Call it co-mingling, or call it corroding barriers, but outdoor is affecting fashion and fashion is affecting outdoor like never before. "The way we live is changing what we mean by performance," stated trend forecaster Haysun Hahn during an event held earlier this year. "Most consumer product must be multi-task, cross-seasonable and sustainability-conscious," she said, adding, "There is no one sitting here that isn't wearing at least two pieces that don't come from an outdoor active sport genesis." H a hn's observation rings true far beyond the garb worn by her Outdoor Retailer audience that winter afternoon; today's modern wardrobe features functional fab- rics in products developed and designed for an urban/outdoor lifestyle. "So, when we talk about an articulated sleeve in an outdoor jacket," explains Hahn, "it applies to straphangers." Meaning that the same kind of body movement needed to hang on as the #6 subway barrels downtown during rush hour in New York City is similar to the freedom of motion originally constructed to enhance climb- ers' performance. "The urban-centric idea is a very important idea," Hahn concludes. The latest textile technologies reflect this critical concept. Rugged is out; comfort is in. Lightweight layers have replaced bulky outerwear. Once pooh-poohed, aesthetics are now prioritized. Drape, texture, print, and hand/feel follow in the footsteps of breathability, moisture management, stretch, odor-control and weather-protection. Sustainability completes this contemporary blend of sport and style as the eco factor now ranks with function and fashion as the trinity of textile development. The rise of athleisure has played a role in this evolution. "While the industry still caters to technical outdoor there has been a shift," observes David Parkes, founder, Concept III Textiles. "Performance shifted focus to athleisure because it was something new, and sparked consumer interest," Parkes explains, noting that changing weather patterns, together with today's price-driven market are also key factors driv- ing current trends, and thus giving way to textiles that offer year-round versatility in the form of lightweight yet functional outerwear and stylish performance fleece. Blends that bal- ance performance aesthetics are top of mind. For instance, Concept III is keen on wool blends from merino specialist AMBT. "Business is strong with Tencel/wool, poly/wool and nylon/wool blends," says Parkes. It's not surprising that fashion has been circling the active/out- door market in recent years as 7th Avenue brands increasingly recognized the advantages of performance as a differentiator that played well with a growing athleisure trend. Parkes gives as an example that he will meet with execs from Target, at Performance Days in Germany. Others report similar experiences. "There is a lot of interest from fashion – not high-fashion — but 7th Avenue fashion with athleisure collections," says Colleen Nipkow, global marketing director, Polygiene. "They have been coming to OR for a little while looking for textile tech that stands out." Banana Republic will feature Polygiene in a new line of men's underwear. Polygiene odor-control technology and messaging that promotes wearability with environmental responsibility connects with today's consumers. The company has built a foundation of partnerships in the outdoor market with its "Wear More. Wash Less" functionality, based on natural silver salt made from 100 percent recycled silver; a product that fits textileinsight.com

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