Outdoor Apparel That Stays Fresher For Longer
Today’s outdoor consumers want garments that stay fresh between launderings and look newer for longer. Advanced effects technologies are now making this possible—crucially without forcing brands to compromise on cost, operational efficiency or environmental sustainability.
It’s no coincidence that some of this year’s top outdoor trade shows, including ISPO Munich and Asia Outdoor Expo in Shanghai, will focus on how outdoor brands are changing to satisfy more refined and values-based consumer lifestyles. This is a sector built for and by people who value health and love nature. And the ranks of outdoor enthusiasts are only growing as young urban trendsetters seek new experiences in nature in the wake of coronavirus challenges.
These consumers demand a lot from their outdoor apparel—comfort, protection and durability are givens, along with first-class eco-friendly credentials and fashionable good looks. For mills and brands, a key part of satisfying this new generation of outdoor warriors is ensuring that the garments they offer will stay fresher for longer.
Antimicrobials to help textiles stay cleaner for longer
Antimicrobial technologies based on silver are coming into their own as people become more aware of how often they come into contact with germs every day. The latest advancement in the field of high-performance antimicrobials allows for the controlled release of this precious active ingredient. A low level of silver is released only when conditions that support bacterial growth are present, ceasing when the optimal level to resist bacterial growth is reached. This delivers more consistent antimicrobial protection. Textiles using this technology therefore stay cleaner between washes and also retain their antimicrobial properties for longer as well.
Odor control to keep textiles smelling fresh for longer
Traditional odor-control solutions capture odors and release them during laundering. A next-generation solution using minerals can safely capture, absorb and degrade odors as they pass through the fabric. It even regenerates its anti-odor defenses as it works, rather than relying on laundering, so it never reaches saturation. This keeps garments smelling clean for longer and eliminates the need for frequent washing.
Outdoor wear that stays clean and fresh
These technologies can be combined for a solution that is ideal for outdoor wear, sportswear and athleisure wear. In this case, the antimicrobial fights odor-causing bacteria on the garment, while the odor-control solution captures odor generated by sweat on the skin. Garments smell fresher for longer and sustain a high level of performance for more wears.
End-to-end system for textile protection effects
It is also possible to combine various technologies to create an end-to-end system for high-performance protection effects. This could include pre-treatments that reduce processing time, resource-saving dyes and inks, durable water repellents for rain and stain protection, color-retention solutions for sustained performance, moisture-management for enhanced comfort, UV-absorbing technologies for lasting sun protection, and even flame retardants for high-performance functional textiles, as well as antimicrobial and odor-control solutions.
Mills are advised to look for cost-effective solutions that are proven to work well together. Easy application, right-first-time processing and safety should be top priorities. There should be no need to compromise, since water- and energy-saving options that are also bluesign® approved and free from harmful substances like PCAs and fluorinated chemicals are now readily available.
Kerim Oner, Global Marketing Manager - Finishing, Huntsman Textile Effects