The Inside Scoop: Polartec
Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job involves
I started at Polartec in 2002 and now hold the role of International Product Manager – I’m responsible for product development and planning. I launch marketing and buying schedules within the international outdoor and professional apparel sectors and liaise with brand, product and marketing departments ensuring Polartec adoptions go smoothly.
Polartec recently announced the launch of a new insulation called Polartec Power Fill. Can you tell us about it?
Polartec Power Fill is a premium solution for package insulation design needs and is made from industry-leading 80% post-consumer recycled content. The product provides superior warmth retention without added weight or bulk. It’s ideal for a variety of activities where body heat can’t ensure proper warmth.
What is the technology behind it?
Polartec Power Fill is a soft and pliable matrix of spun polyester yarns engineered with distinct fibre geometry. This matrix forms thousands of small air pockets that continuously capture and contain body heat while maintaining a resilient, equalised thermal layer between the cold air on the outside and the warm temperatures inside. The hydrophobic properties also ensure that Polartec Power Fill resists moisture absorption, dries quickly and maintains a high warmth-to-weight ratio.
Can you explain the different weights it’s available in and what activities they’re aimed at?
It’s available in a range of weights – 60 g/m, 80 g/m, 100 g/m, 135 g/m, 170g/m and 200 g/m. The variety of weights mean that Power Fill can be used as a stand-alone layer or combined with contrasting products such as the very breathable Polartec Alpha.
There are a whole host of activities that Power Fill is perfect for. Its warmth, lightweight and water repellent qualities make it perfect for skiing and snowboarding when teamed with a waterproof, breathable outer such as Polartec NeoShell. Power Fill is also great for use in conjunction with other more breathable fabrics from the Polartec range such as Polartec Power Stretch, where Power Fill can be used in the chest for warmth and Power Stretch can be used in hot spots such as under the arms or down the sides of the torso. The applications are endless.
How does it compare with what’s already on the market?
It‘s made of 100% polyester of which 80% is recycled (PCR) fibre. It has a soft handle and very good drape thanks to the lack of scrim. Because it uses a unique melt process to stabilise the fibre, it’s very easy to work with.
What types of products and garments is it suitable for?
We’ve mentioned snowsports where it is ideal, we also see it being popular in the hunting and fishing markets where periods of rest require additional insulation. Light hiking and general day-to-day walking are also activities that would benefit from the use of Power Fill. The military will also find it useful when they stop after extensive physical activities. The addition of a highly insulated product at the top of a climb, for example, is a perfect use of the technology.
When will we see brands using Power Fill in their products?
Millet will be launching the Elevation Airloft Hoodie at ISPO in January 2018. Designed for alpinists, this jacket uses a lightweight hybrid build that concentrates on providing warmth in key places while promoting mobility and breathability. The Power Fill traps the maximum amount of air using a new melt process that boosts thermal performance at low temperatures. The fibre matrix of the fill contains released heat, forming a thermal layer between body and exterior. The jacket’s upper section and seamless build promotes more intense warmth, while the stitched lower section optimises moisture wicking during exertion.
What are the benefits of using Power Fill for manufacturers?
Being able to handle padding without a carrier is a big advantage. Padding is unstable – it moves around. So you need a ‘carrier’, often a scrim, to enable you to work with it. If it needs removing, that will incur extra labour and money. Power Fill enables the manufacturer to instantly get to work – it can be fed through a sewing machine without unpredictably moving around, enabling faster and more precise sewing.
What can we expect from Polartec in the future?
We will continue to work with our customers on a one-to-one basis, developing bespoke solutions and pushing innovation across a range of markets. We have exciting developments ahead: stay tuned for 2019 and 2020!