Tech Upgrades Feature at Outdoor Retailer

It’s all about the membrane for Fall ’19. A few examples: Jumbo-size beakers bubbling away to represent advances in air permeability; electro-spinning being re-purposed for modern technical outerwear; an activity-specific approach to performance taking hold; hard-core waterproof/breathable garments featuring a buttery soft hand; and efforts signaling PTFE’s move to the sidelines. Futurelight from TNF set the stage for conversations on these textile topics during the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show and how membrane creativity is on the rise. Polartec was already ahead of the trend with its NeoShell innovation. TNF takes this up a notch by customizing the process and “tuning” product to meet specific needs. In other words, dialing up or down the air perm as per end use. Traditional outerwear development focused on protection from outdoor weather conditions; today’s membrane tech zeros in the individual’s microclimate.

We’re seeing a similar trend in knits. Smartwool’s Intraknit baselayer garments are constructed with 3D tech that features zoned breathability, sculpted fit and a luxe feel. This opens the door to a completely new approach to apparel tunable engineering, states Smartwool’s Anne Wiper, concluding: “The right construction for the right activity.” Not limited by conventional construction, Intraknit technique offers textural differences with insulation and ventilation and exceeds seamless in terms of fit – accelerating the benefits of wool.

Sustainability plays a strong role in these and other Fall ’19 intros. Nowadays performance tech must check the eco boxes — resource reduction, green chemistry, zero waste, etc., — while providing top-notch functionality. Brands are demanding responsibly made product, and are partnering with suppliers that follow through. At the Outdoor Retailer Show Polartec announced its Eco-Engineering initiative to use recycled and biodegradable materials across its entire product line. PrimaLoft introduced partnerships with Helly Hansen, Houdini, L.L. Bean, Norrøna and Vaude for apparel featuring PrimaLoft Bio (100 percent recycled, biodegradable synthetic apparel Insulation and Performance Fabric) in 2020.