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The Trendsetters

Industry Influencers In  Design, Product Development  & Textile Innovation.
Welcome to our 6th annual spotlight on industry innovators. These talented individuals are a force behind what’s new and exciting in today’s marketplace. For this year’s edition of TrendSetters we crafted a questionnaire to show off the textile savvy and unique personalities of our candidates. We guarantee you will enjoy these snapshot profiles that highlight idea inspiration, design exploration, fabric obsessions and tech essentials. Participants’ snappy responses also hint at what will be influencing material development and product design in the future.

ED RUZIC CEO / Creative Director / Sherpani
Ruzic co-founded Sherpani 15 years ago built on the concept of creating functional, stylish back-country and urban bags designed for, and by, women. A novel idea at that time, Sherpani proved successful, advancing women’s-specific product development in the active/outdoor industry. Previously, Ruzic owned Russi Mountain Works.
A design direction I’d like to explore is: Designing bags using one piece of shaped fabric without any cutting (just folding) then using the folds to create an unexpected, purposeful feature. 
A fabric I’m obsessed with right now is: Anything stretch; I like using durable stretch fabrics in unexpected ways and places. They look great, feel great and have unlimited uses. My tech essential is: My iPad. No doubt. It does everything I need for work and entertains me on 14-hour flights to Asia.

GUS HARRIS Director / Product Development / Operations Mizzen & Main
Harris has been in the fashion industry for almost 20 years with experience in retail sales, merchandising, visual, and personal shopping for some of the largest retailers in the industry. Within the last couple of years he has been able to use his fashion and engineering expertise to be innovative and successful as Mizzen+Main’s Product Development Director.
A design direction I’d like to explore is: Development and innovation that transforms the everyday needs in menswear.
A fabric I’m obsessed with right now is: This synthetic blended fabric that feels and drapes with a super 100 wool that doesn’t require all the maintenance wool needs.  My fondest clothing memory from childhood is: Oh wow! In middle school I wore this Ralph Lauren fraternity like cardigan that had the RL crest on the left chest. I actually won best dressed with that cardigan.
My tech essential is: My Apple Watch that reminds me to do my meditation breathing exercises.

MIGUET / CEO / Clim8
Miguet’s career journey has progressed from the position of Product Manager (Intersport) to General Manager (Oberalp group - Salewa - Dynafit), which afforded Miguet with different insights on what products should offer ranging from the demands of top athletes to the needs of everyone.
A design direction I’d like to explore is: Absolute integration, invisible electronics technologies embedded into 4-way stretch fabrics, breathable, comfortable.
A fabric I’m obsessed with right now is: What we are trying to bring to the Textile Industry: Reactive Insulation Fabric – a fabric that becomes intelligent and is truly able to understand what is your thermal comfort, and to adapt to it.
My tech essential is: My iPhone. I always keep it close to manage the relationships with our partners, colleagues, family and friends. Smartphones have become a big part of our habits, and companies and services are getting digital. By 2020, the number of smartphone users worldwide will reach 2.87B (Source: Statista), so we have to take advantage of it. That is why, at clim8, we are using smartphone apps to help people understand and reach their best thermal comfort.  

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IN THE MARKET | Interfiliere NY

A Softer Side of Performance

With French Flair, Vendors Debut Creative Collections for Next Season.
A little bit of Paris came to Manhattan earlier this Fall with Interfiliere NY showcasing beautiful fabrications from over 60 textile vendors in a trade event targeting buyers of intimates, swim and athleisure apparel. As boundaries continue to blur between markets, new materials bring subtle performance in soft-to-the-touch, lightweight qualities. Innovation is seen in the juxtaposition between sport and sexy, and inspiration comes from retro constructions updated for modern wearability.

Interfiliere NY has grown significantly in the past few years, expanding to become a two-day trade fair, and drawing a steady stream of attendees from big brands as well as start-up designers. A Creative Lab area complete with trend boards, fabric displays and concept garments is a nice complement to an adjoining exhibit hall. Smart presentations on market research and global fashion trends rounds out the show agenda.

Eastman took full advantage of its inaugural show sponsorship to get the word out about Naia, the company’s latest textile innovation. The cellulosic yarn features an appealing smooth, silky hand with inherent performance features, and a strong sustainability story. Drawing on Eastman’s long-established acetate expertise, the new technology differentiates Naia with its printability, color-fastness, ease of care, and comfort properties. 

Eastman is putting more emphasis on its textile business. Naia was introduced at the January 2017 Paris Interfiliere show, and follows on the heels of Avra, a performance product for active/outdoor/lifestyle markets. Also of note, Naia is a different type of polymer than other cellulosics. Cellulosics have inherent wicking and quick dry properties; Naia does all that but also offers inherent soil release. According to the company, fabrics made with Naia can have a high luster, shine, and drape. If the garment style demands it, Naia can also have a subtle matte finish instead.  Eastman execs say market feedback on Naia has been very good. Interestingly, the product’s sustainability aspect is garnering attention from fast fashion companies, as well as others.

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November / December 2017
Read the latest issue of Textile Insight.
Includes Latest Trend Insight Survey on Sustainability
July / August 2017
May / June 2017

Indigo Innovation

New Developments Focused on Fit, Function and Fun.
Future BLACK+ denim is made with Repreve recycled bottle fiber and Lenzing Modal to create eco-aware performance jeans.
Cordura has launched its new Authentic Alchemie 2.0 denim collection called “Imagination Without Limitation” inspired by trends from MaterialsMove CEO and founder Linda Keppinger. The three macro trends identified — ‘Make it for Me’, ‘Show Me You Care’, and ‘Faster and Farther’ — are helping authorized mills engineer denims of the future.

Drivers of the trend “Make It For Me” are authenticity and freedom of movement embodied though customized looks and stretch solutions and fabrics with washed and tumbled effects. An expression of the craft movement, this trend mixes traditional with contemporary. Cone Cordura Selvage Denim, Kaihara Cordura Selvage Denim, heavy-duty Artistic Milliners 15 osy Cordura Denims and Cone SGene Cordura Denim showcase this trend.

The “Show Me You Care” trend is about evolving values, social and environmental consciousness, and how individuals can unite to make a difference. Denims that are in it for the long haul are key. Specific examples include softened strength Cordura Denims from Artistic Milliners made with Lenzing Tencel fiber. Also featured are durable Cordura Combat Wool denims from Artistic Milliners.

Reshaping and expanding ideas, and ourselves, beyond what is thought possible is at the heart of the “Faster and Farther” trend. Extreme performance and hidden science are motivating factors in developing denims with high-tech functionality ranging from moisture management and thermo-regulations to odor-control. Denims in the spotlight include Cordura TransDry Denim in collaboration with Cotton Incorporated, Artistic Milliners Cordura Denim with Dow Intellifresh for lasting freshness, and Arvind speciality bi-stretch Cordura Denims for commuter gear.

Hyosung has partnered with Bossa to introduce Xplay a new collection of bi-stretch denim with creora Fit2. Bossa, one of Turkey’s largest integrated textile companies with production facilities in Adana, offers high quality products and services in its range of yarn, dyeing, weaving, and denim finishing processes.

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Fall River Rising

Talk of a New Era in a City with a Long Textile History. By Emily Walzer
New workforce training programs are contributing to a growing community of local manufacturing and helping to boost Fall River’s
revival efforts.
With plenty of affordable space available, a strong textile heritage and news of businesses in expansion mode, Fall River appears ripe for revitalization. Add to that a nearby state university with a respected textile degree and new funding for workforce training programs there’s good reason for execs to feel optimistic about made in America manufacturing in this area of Massachusetts once known as “Spindle City.”

Yet in a recent survey, Fall River was rated as the second worst city in the state only behind Bedford. There’s lots of vacant space because textile businesses like Duro and Quaker have closed up shop. And while Fall River has textile DNA, it has a lost a generation of potential workers as the industry has gone offshore.

As one Fall River textile exec explained: Fall River is a living contradiction, so the health and vitality of the city really depends on whom you ask.

Fall River’s official motto, dating back to the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1843, is, “We’ll Try.” That attitude resonates today as long-time Fall River-based firms like Bolger & O’Hearn as well as newcomers to the city like Good Clothing Company, Cleverhood and now Tweave, focus on a new era of textile success.

Opportunities & Challenges
“For us Fall River is the right fit,” says Kathryn Hilderbrand, who founded Good Clothing Company in 2015 as an affiliate to her established business located on Cape Cod. “There is a lot of heart in Fall River and a strong work ethic. I’m upbeat about what the future holds.” Her business occupies 17,000 square feet of a 50,000 square foot floor in a mill space four times that big. “We’re grateful to have the ability to continue to expand,” says Hilderbrand.

The production facility does “soup to nuts” development work for large runs as well as small batch manufacturing, with a client list of over 250, according to Hilderbrand, a master tailor, designer and business entrepreneur. The company recently added an its own in-house contemporary clothing line called Good Apparel. The business has 21 employees with the hope of doubling that number by year’s end.

This summer Good Clothing Company received a $117,760 grant from the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program to hire and train new employees. The funding, which Hilderbrand said the company will match, will result in 45 new jobs by 2019, 30 of which will be brought on board in the next year.

“We want to be part of the training to allow individuals to develop skills they can take elsewhere,” says Hilderbrand. “We lost a generation to outsourcing.”

“I see great things going on with Merrow and the city as a whole,” Hilderbrand adds.

Shawn Honeycutt, sales manager of Bolger & O’Hearn also tips his hat to Merrow Sewing Machines for its expanded cut and sew services, as well as textile printer Swan Finishing and Matouk, a long-time Fall River maker of high-end bed and bath linens.  Bolger & O’Hearn has been doing business for 45 years in Fall River and is considered a leader within the textile chemical industry. A recent innovation is Altopel F3, a fluorine-free durable water repellent and the company continues to invest in sustainable processes.  “There is a foundation here for textiles; a base that companies could launch from,” says Honeycutt, who has been with Bolger & O’Hearn for 25 years.  He mentions that housing is cheaper in Fall River compared to other areas nearby Boston and references support for projects reclaiming Fall River waterfront property. However challenges exist, states Honeycutt:

“Bolger & O’Hearn is just down the road from Duro, an important military business that closed recently and Quaker was a significant loss to the City. At one time the [upholstery] company had 3000 employees and 16 plants.” He notes, “So there are hills to climb.”

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Staying On Track

Products & Experiences Dedicated to the Legacy of Running.
hether it’s the ambience of the physical store, the visual marketing aesthetic or the textiles used in the brand’s apparel, TrackSmith is focused on functionality for a core group of competitive runners looking to improve performance. These are runners doing speed workouts and setting goals; people who run hard, sweat and wash their clothes often because they do intense training. 

Viewed through this lens, “it starts with materials.” explains Brian Moore, TrackSmith chief operating officer. “We’re making people realize the importance of quality, functionality and materials used,” says Moore. “It’s about making an investment in product, like runners making an investment in training.” Moore continues, “Footwear brands have been good at getting this message across to runners.

TrackSmith does this in apparel.” TrackSmith customers self-identify as runners, and for these individual the experience of the run itself is important. “This is something TrackSmith customers share,” says Moore. To emphasize his point, Moore adds, “Our shirts are not the free t-shirts from a race. Our customer is not a hobby jogger.”

TrackSmith first set up shop in Wellesley, MA in 2014, appropriately located midway in the Boston Marathon route. Recently the brand moved 13.1 miles down the course to a duplex on Boston’s bustling Newbury Street. Called Track House the space does triple duty as TrackSmith offices, retail space and a gathering hub for local runners.

Moore wears many hats at TrackSmith, having input on product from raw to finished goods. He and TrackSmith founder Matt Taylor conceptualize the line, and Moore continues the development process with eyes on analytics, sourcing, and design.

Garments are noted for both performance and great feel. “We are picky with our vendors,” explains Moore whose background includes high-level footwear and apparel posts with The North Face, Timberland, Saucony, and Burton Snowboard’s Gravis brand. “Most (suppliers) are European based, in addition to some North American vendors and some in Asia.” Merino wool is sourced from Europe as well as Australia or New Zealand. Moore uses Italian mills for knits, and Schoeller for wovens. “Materials need to stand up to users who put fabrics through their paces. The quality pays off with materials that perform over time,” explains Moore.

Stephen Kerns, president, Schoeller Textil USA describes TrackSmith as product and material-centric. “Running is their passion but they don’t over-glamourize it. The product is high-quality but not over-stated,” explains Kerns who adds, “I love their story telling; they are selling the running experience.” Schoeller product used in TrackSmith jackets and shorts feature NanoSphere finishing technology that is water, oil and dirt repellent and highly wash and abrasion resistant, and DrySkin durable material.

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From Road Race To Road Trip

Travel-Worthy Textiles for the Total Run Experience.
These days being a runner often includes planes, trains and automobiles. Participating in a local 5K with friends and neighbors is always an option, but an out of town race holds special appeal. While textile execs may not be “front-of-the-pack” runners, they are hip to the destination run trend and are developing versatile, performance fabrics ideally suited for garments worn before, after and to/from the competition.

These fabrications offer technical properties along with comfort features that enhance the total run experience. In other words, travel-worthy textiles that transitioning seamlessly from sport to sightseeing.

Schoeller president Stephen Kerns says that Dryskin articles and Shape pieces within the company’s Cosmopolitan collection are a good fit for this trend. DrySkin double fabric construction is developed especially for active sports, and consists of synthetic fibers on the outside and functional fibers on the inside for rapid moisture transport. Used in jackets and pants these features hold up to wear and tear and can be styled for functional fashion.  The Cosmopolitan collection features articles with NanoSphere and 3XDry finishing technologies. “The fabrics look fresh, don’t require ironing and brands often tell us these fabrics are popular for travel wear,” explains Kerns. 3XDry combines two functions in one textile—water and dirt repellency on the outside with quick dry moisture management inside that promotes natural cooling. NanoSphere repels water, oil and dirt with high abrasion resistance. Both technologies are appreciated for plane travel and car trips when keeping clothes clean can be a challenge.

Versatility is a key attribute of Nilit’s ATS collection. Molly Kremidas, global marketing team member for Nilit, describes ATS pieces as “travel-easy versatility.” She adds, “The garments look dressy, but behave functionally.” Special air texturing creates soft yarns that are light and fluffy yet supple, and also easy care. ATS nylon yarns deliver a cotton-like feel, moisture management performance and dry fast. The yarn remains soft after multiple washings.

Odor-resist technology is a natural for runners, whether on race day or during a road trip. Says Colleen Nipkow, NA marketing director for Polygiene: “Runners and travelers alike want to pack light and want items that they can rinse out, hang up, dry quickly, and look good.” Polygiene, a chemical-free, odor control technology is expanding and diversifying end use applications. “It’s not only what runners/travelers pack in their bags, but their packs, too,” says Nipkow who mentions a new pack program with Montane. For 2018 Montane updated all trail running packs with Polygiene. As a sidenote: Each year Montane sponsors the Tor des Géants in Italy. Ultra-marathons are part of the growth in destination running, according to a Montane representative, saying that a Montane athlete took his family as a support crew for the event.  Gore’s new ShakeDry technology provides users on the run performance and lightweight pack-ability. The “constant beading technology” doesn’t allow the fabric to saturate and the thin profile promotes breathability. The tech is versatile for wear on fair weather days and performs in stormy conditions. Wearers don’t experience the chill common with wetted out face fabric, and the fabric dries fast. Literally users can shake it dry. Take a look at the video on YouTube here:

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Products Ideally Suited for Today’s  Version of “Distance” Running. 
By Suzanne Blecher
Destination races have runners packing their bags for events like the Walt Disney World Marathon, Portland’s Run Like Hell races and the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Hoping to avoid checking a bag, consumers are looking for options in footwear, apparel, accessories and gear that are adaptable, packable and feature technologies including anti-wrinkle, anti-static and odor-free for travel and post-race activities. 

Here, options for pieces that crossover from the outdoor world designed for fun, stress-free experiences.

Apparel: When skier, trail runner and adventurer Christy Mahon travels, she often grabs Stio’s Pinion Down Vest with lightweight, abrasion-resistant Pertex Quantum and Allied’s 800-fill HyperDry water-repellent down “to keep my core warm,” she said, adding that after a long run, “it’s a perfect reward for hard work.” The vest can be perfectly paired with Stio’s streamlined Pinedale Pant with comfortable, stretchy softshell fabric and articulated knees.

For on-the-ground activity, RYU’s Vapor Long Sleeve Top has engineered mesh zones for cooling, as well as Polygiene technology for odor control and built-in UPF 50+. La Sportiva’s Medea T-Shirt also features Polygiene, as well as body-mapped compression, a seamless construction for chafe-free comfort and reflective detailing for safety. Perfect for layering, the Breeze VNT Tank from Mountain Hardwear is moisture-wicking and contains engineered perforations for breathability.

Pacsafe’s Transit Hoodie and Pant provide great details for traveling comfort, including a RFIDsafe pocket for passport and wallet, a hood designed to act as a pull-down eye mask for sleeping and several icon-labeled pockets depicting where things like headphones, glasses and pens are hidden.

Footwear & Accessories: For professional runner and coach David Roche, the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 is his “set it and forget it shoe – every day, everywhere, every run.” The cushy, fast shoe “can handle any terrain with plenty of action,” Roche said, noting that the shoe has a a supportive, surefooted fit.  Ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich relies upon the equally trek-worthy Keen Terradora Mid for her adventures. “Whether I’m going for a walk in the park by my house in the city or hiking up a 3,000-foot rocky peak, it makes my footwear decision simple,” she said. Nestled in the brand’s TrailFit category (bridging the gym and mountains), Terradora has a narrower last for women’s specific fit and a proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane to let vapor out without letting water in. Chaco’s Z/Cloud sandals have adjustable straps (easy for removal at the airport) and a podiatrist-certified polyurethane footbed for all-day comfort, along with a performance ChacoGrip rubber outsole that is optimized for wet traction. Borrowed from the sailing world, Costa’s Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses are designed for lowlight conditions (dawn, dusk, clouds), allowing in 30 percent of the light while still maintaining a 97 percent polarization efficiency. The lenses also contain a C-Wall coating, which causes water to bead up and roll off for smudge-free wearing. Hydrolite rubber on the nose and temples optimizes face gripping even when the wearer is wet or sweaty. Meanwhile, Buff’s UV Multifunctional Headband offers thermal efficiency, built-in sun protection and moisture wicking with CoolMax Pro. The headbands feature a seamless construction and Polygiene Active odor control.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

No Matter What the Race-cation has in Store, There’s a Perfect Shoe.
By Jennifer Ernst Beaudry
Packing is tricky; packing for a destination run or a running vacation is next-level difficult.  Picking the right shoe for your event is obviously critical: Does it support your stride? Does it offer the protection and traction you need for the event? Will it keep you fast while it keeps you comfortable? Are you running a 5K? An ultra? Rugged trails? Obstacle course? City Streets?  But race-day performance isn’t the only issue when you’re away from home. If you’re going to have to carry your shoes as you walk (or even as you race), how heavy are they? If you’re limited to a carryon, can your shoes pull double-duty for the rest of your trip? If you need to warm-up, cross-train or even do another event (it could happen!) on your trip, will your shoes keep up?  There are as many different needs as there are races. But luckily, running brands have it covered, with shoes that work for all stripes of competition and nail all the other travel requirements, too. All you need to do is choose your path.

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September / October 2017