It Started in ‘81.

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.

1981

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. 

1986

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

1988

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

1993

Fleece goes eco with the first fabrication recycled from bottles.

1999

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

2005

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

2010

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

2015

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.

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