Its luxe texture is just the beginning of what we love about our latest DS Beyond fleece fabric used in designing our new Waffle Jersey Pocomo Pullover. Our fabric partner, Polartec®, calls it Power Air,™ since it catches air to keep in warmth while keeping microfiber shedding to a minimum (read: high-fashion, low eco-impact). We call it all we want to wear from now on.
Someone wise in the ways of Polartec’s forward-thinking fabric development, VP of Global Product Development Mike Rose, shares more about what helps Waffle Jersey check all our conscious fashion boxes.
DS: Describe your role in fabric innovation for Polartec. What's the most exciting thing on the horizon when it comes to recycled fabrics?
MR: I’m the head of the product development team. I provide leadership to engineers who are responsible for new product development, such as the Polartec® Power Air™ product being used by Dudley Stephens.
Regarding Power Air, we required maximum use of recycled materials. The only portion of the Power Air fabric Dudley Stephens is using which isn’t recycled, is a spandex alternative. While that minor component of the fabric doesn’t currently exist as a recycled input, we are working on future developments for that component which would allow it to be made from recycled material.
Can you tell us what it means to be more "circular" as a fashion brand? How is Polartec helping brands to do that?
Our objective is to look at the entire supply chain and product life cycle, from the materials that go into a product, through to its end of life. While we believe that longevity, or creating highly durable products that last, is most important, we also consider inputs that may allow products to be recycled, if/when it reaches the end of its useful life. The broader market still lacks a commercial recycling solution for many materials, so we work with our customers to optimize fabric composition to meet their sustainability goals.
What is microwaste and how much of a challenge is it? How are you tackling that challenge?
I can speak specifically to microfiber shedding, which was a key issue to address in the development of Polartec Power Air. While we have tested Polartec fabrics to ensure high durability, we knew, with fleece, when you mechanically brush a fabric to create pile, you increase the potential for microfiber shedding. Power Air was developed to create space for air (insulation) within the construction of the fabric, therefore eliminating any need for brushing, mitigating microfiber shedding.
Describe our new Power Air fabric in a detailed but understandable way.
It’s akin to knit bubble wrap. We created a new fabric structure that encapsulates air to retain warmth. It does this via a multilayer, continuous yarn construction, minimizing the propensity for microfiber shedding.
It has lots of other interesting benefits as well, such as advanced thermal efficiency, and a low-friction, flexible and lively feel, in addition to its distinctive aesthetics.
How important is it for customers to consider that last bend of the circle, longevity? How does a brand/products like DS help to promote that goal?
It’s extremely important. It’s something the industry has just begun to focus on, but it’s been at the top of our list since the beginning. To be more “sustainable,” consumers should actually consume less. We help with this by creating high quality, versatile products that last. Polartec conducts rigorous testing of performance and durability in the lab, and in the field. Polartec enables brands like Dudley Stephens to offer fashionable products with long-lasting performance.