Doug Kelliher, VP Product Management at Polartec, talks to Chantelle Kelly about their latest innovation, Polartec Power Air, a new fabric technology designed to reduce fibre shedding
Can you talk us through your latest innovation, Polartec Power Air?
Polartec® Power Air™ is our first fabric technology engineered to reduce fibre shedding. By encapsulating lofted fibres within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction, this revolutionary new platform offers advanced thermal efficiency that is proven to shed five times less than other premium ‘mid-layer’ weight fabrics.
Can you explain the technology behind it?
Insulation has traditionally been achieved via lofted or high-pile knit
structures that hold warm air. Although Polartec is a leader in making resilient materials, it has recognised that any exposed fibre is susceptible to shedding as a function of normal wear. The Polartec Power Air construction process mitigates this by encasing the insulating lofted fibres within the knit construction.
What is its USP?
Sustainability. Power Air is one more step towards reducing the environmental impact of what we manufacture and what we wear. The innovation has recently gained recognition from the World Textile Information Network with its Future Textile Award for Best Innovation: Sustainable Textiles.
What are the key functionalities and characteristics of this fabric?
Its unique knit style results in two distinct facades to the fabric. The symmetrical grid on one side holds the warmth, whilst the smoother outer surface reduces drag to prevent pilling and promote easy layering with other materials. This construction offers a wider design versatility for clothing manufacturers and changes how insulation fabrics perform over their lifetime.
Why did you decide to launch the new fabric?
Polartec has long been a pioneer in waste reduction. We are continually brainstorming and innovating. We never stop. It’s important to us that we’re always using science as a basis for our research into fabric development. We recognised the problem microfibres are causing and the role that fleece fabrics play in that. It’s all our responsibility to constantly strive to find ways of solving this problem whilst keeping our customers warm, dry and comfortable.
Is there anything similar on the market?
Thankfully many manufacturers are waking up to the fact that there is a greater cost to what we wear than the price tag. Designers are increasingly using renewable, sustainable, and recycled fabrics. Do your research and ensure you understand the credentials and history of any clothing you buy.
What type of garments can it be used in?
Power Air works to keep you warm. It has two distinct surfaces which provide a wider design versatility than most insulation fabrics. It is ideal for fleece jackets and jumpers – particularly mid-layers. It will keep you warm, without overheating.
Are there any outdoor brands that have committed to using it?
adidas was the first brand to commit to Power Air and as an incredibly well known and respected sportswear brand, we are very proud of this association. Power Air has been incorporated into their Terrex collection and the adidas Terrex Polartec Power Air Fleece Jacket has been launched onto the market.
What are your sustainability goals for the future?
Power Air isn’t our first eco-friendly fabric and it won’t be our last. We have previously been praised for our focus on the environment when, in the ‘90s, we pioneered the process of knitting yarns constructed from recycled plastic bottles. We have now saved more than a billion plastic bottles from landfill. We are only beginning to realise the potential for this new type of fabric construction in Power Air.
Do you have any other textile innovations in the pipeline?
“We always have new textile innovations in the pipeline,” says Michael Cattanach, Global Product Director at Polartec. “Power Air is not just a new fabric but a platform for Polartec to continue its history of environmentally responsible developments.”