Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wool Advances in Outdoor Retail Market

Wool Advances in Outdoor Retail Market

The growing interest in wool as a performance fiber has given new life to the hosiery segment and made base layer knitwear a must-have, the industry learned during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market held this month in Salt Lake City. Fine-micron merino knitwear, pioneered by the likes of Icebreaker and SmartWool for next-to-skin wear, is now featured in nearly every outdoor apparel brand, those attending the Market reported. “Merino wool has tons of momentum,” said David Parkes, director of Concept III, which represents ABMT, a provider of premium merino and technical knits from Australia and China. The company’s Merino Edge Cool utilizes a technique similar to decatising to create a silky, washable wool jersey that is ideal for underwear. Hosiery maker Farm to Feet introduced US-made merino socks with friction-free technology, using a PTFE nylon that reduces abrasion and the formation of blisters. The specialized yarns and technical knitwear found in today’s performance apparel for the outdoor market have come a long way from the polypropylene base layers and polyester fleece fabrics of the 1970s. Yarn spinners and knitters focused on comfort, performance, and durability in their latest offerings.
For summer 2015, merino is blended with other fibers, providing additional wicking and cooling performance. Knitters and fiber companies continue to develop new blends such as merino spun with dyeable CoolVisions, polypropylene at Global Merino and Zhejiang Xinao; durable Cordura nylon staple with wool at Chia Heir; and blends of alpaca with Tencel at Texollini. Introduced last season, Polartec Power Wool is a bi-componentknit concept which plaits merino wool on the inside with technical synthetic yarns on the outside. The fabrics are finding acceptance with brands such as Westcomb. The Summer Market 2014 was the largest OR ever staged, featuring 1,595 exhibitors and attracting over 27,000 visitors over four days.