It Started in ‘81.

Lauren and fleece both arrived on the scene in 1981. Coincidence? The best kind. Walk with us through our flagship fabric’s key milestones since that serendipitous year.


The first fleece is made when Malden Mills, later Polartec, combs polyester pile fabric by combing it to tease the fibers to stand up. It’s warm, durable and light—welcome features for outdoor clothing brands. 


The first bright fleece prints cause a stir when introduced in Europe.


The first woman solo skis to the North Pole, wearing fleece (of course).


Fleece goes eco with the first fabrication recycled from bottles.


Fleece makes headlines as Time magazine names it one of the century’s most important inventions.


Polartec studies polar bears to optimize fleece’s warmth, weight & breathability.


The first fleece is made from 100% recycled bottles, with the creation of Repreve yarn.


Dudley Stephens is launched by mother-daughter trio Bonnie, Lauren & Kaki to introduce a fashionable, elevated take on the beloved sportswear fabric.

Polartec upcycles its billionth plastic bottle into fleece. Today it’s almost 2 billion! Stay tuned for our own DS bottle-count update.