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Outdoor apparel: Function goes all out

09.07.2013
Outdoor textiles must not just be functional, but also greener

Friedrichshafen: Faster, higher, stronger is the motto for Olympic medals. In contrast, more resistant, lighter and more breathable are the mottos for more comfort in outdoor clothing. This will definitely continue for the 2014 season. The world’s major outdoor brands will premiere their new textiles at the OutDoor trade show, held from 11 to 14 July 2013.

The outdoor industry thrives on improving the functionality of clothing, and even the development of new functions. That hasn’t changed at the 20th OutDoor. Some premieres are intended to appeal to new target groups, like the Asta Aino Armi coat from Finkid or the All Weather Jacket from Mamalila. Both have women in their sights, especially women with children or who are expecting. Both of these innovations can be expanded to fit a growing belly, offering enough coverage "for two”. It’s all made possible by special inserts that let the circumference of the jacket expand as needed.

At the same time, many innovations are "only” lighter than their predecessors. Lower weight is seen as the equivalent of greater comfort. This has given rise to products like Haglöfs L.I.M. Essens Jacket, a down jacket which, at 170 grams (6 oz), is practically as light as a feather, or Columbia’s Superlight Plasmic jacket, a waterproof, backpack-compatible jacket weighing only 218 grams (7.7 oz).

But for many consumers as well as manufacturers, the emphasis on functionality isn’t enough. True outdoor clothing also needs to be made in an ecologically and socially responsible way. For example, Yeti from the German town of Görlitz is presenting a textile for the first time which is made from the oil of the castor oil plant. Their "North” down jacket is the first jacket based on nylon made from plants. Adidas Outdoor uses a naturally-coloured material, without any colours or dyes. The colour of the TX Zuaplite Jacket is milky and translucent. The decision to leave out the dyes and colours saves water, energy and chemicals, but the jacket is as functional as any colourful alternative. With its Myser Jacket, Klättermusen is close on the heels of the ideal closed cycle economy. The Swedes use recycled polyproylene and after the end of the jackets’ useful life, they are recycled to create new polypropylene which can then be used again.

Maier Sports is presenting a polyurethane emulsion treatment in Friedrichshafen which is durable and PFC-free. Other PFC-free products, such as Nikwax’s TX-Direct and Schoeller’s Ecorepel, both of which make no compromises in terms of protection from water, are also on the market. This is also the case for the Urban Toshi Jacket from Pedeled. It is made of 100% cotton, but is still waterproof, windproof and breathable.

One of the more unusual products is the Robe Towel from PackTowl/ Cascade designs. It’s a combination bathrobe and towel. This "jacket” is likely to be in high demand, at least on the campgrounds of Europe.

The OutDoor 2013 is open from Thursday, 11 July until Sunday, 14 July, to trade visitors only (Thursday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). More information is available at www.outdoor-show.com.

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