Functional Innovations in Sportswear
In today’s competitive market for sportswear apparel, clothing brands are following the trend to develop more and more products with specialized functions.
Wearing Functional, Looking Smart and Causal
The concept of “wearing functional, looking smart and casual” is going to be a hot trend in apparel market development. Apparel marketers will evaluate strategies for market penetration and development. They will market products which infuse the outdoor element into ordinary fashion clothing. For instance, camouflage patterns commonly used in battle dress are now widely applied to ordinary fashion clothing. People wearing fashion and functional clothing have the sense of being in the field of outdoor environment. They may wear the clothing during both leisure and outdoor activities.
The functional performance of a garment becomes one of the key elements for a company’s marketing strategy. For instance, the sportswear company, Columbia Sportswear, has launched the product line “Omni heat” which provides thermal management. The idea comes from space technology. A heat reflective coating is applied to the inner side of the inner fabric which reflects heat back to the human body.
It is not uncommon that you’ll find antibacterial deodorizing socks and T-shirts at affordable prices in low to middle price range retailers. Reflective prints and piping can be found applied to a Reebok jacket as a gimmick of fashion and function. However, it is worthwhile to note that the price of the garment usually reflects the durability and level of performance of the product.
Many sportswear items also may have functional properties such as antibacterial, UV protection, quick dry/moisture management, anti-mosquito, anti-static, windproof and waterproof, breathable, stain resistance, etc. The functional performance is being advertised in popular terms appearing on the hang tags of the garments.
Durable Functional Fabric
Specialty fabric manufacturers put much effort in functional fabric development. The advancement in textile technology and nanotechnology have made significant improvements in the durability and performance of functional fabrics possible. The latest commercialized production technologies can be used to produce fabric with antibacterial deodorizing, moisture management, and stain resistance performance lasting for over 30 household machine washes. High resolution microscopy can be used to analyze the surface of coating after repeated laundering.
SGS has the knowledge and a global network of testing labs through which it can support you with integrating innovative solutions in your outdoor and sportswear garments. Find out more about SGS Softlines Services.
Health and Moisture Transfer
When performing sporting activities, heat and moisture (i.e. perspiration) build up on your skin. A quick drying moisture management fabric would effectively remove the moisture away from the inner side (skin contact side) to the fabric outer side. This would leave you feeling dry and reduce heat stress. The below properties are facilitated by various factors such as fiber structure, fiber composition, fabric construction, chemical finishing, etc.
- Fast wicking: the ability to transfer the moisture through capillary action of fibers
- Fast drying: the rate of removal of moisture from the fabric (by natural evaporation process)
- High water vapor permeability: the ability to allow water vapor transfer which would prevent moisture building up
- High air permeability: fabric structure with more air space provides better ventilation and effective liquid moisture transfer
- Transport capability): the ability of providing directional one way moisture transfer (from inner side to outer side of fabric)
For furhter information contact:
Karen E. Kyllo, Ph.D.
Deputy Vice President, Global Softlines
SGS North America Inc.
t: +1 973 461 7934
The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With more than 64,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,250 offices and laboratories around the world.