2011 APEX Award Winners Available Now

Each year, Polartec honors the finest Polartec-based garments with a prestigious Polartec APEX Award. We announced the North American and European winners back in May. Most of these pieces are now available for purchase. Check ‘em out!

Polartec to Use Recycled Plastic Bottles AND Recycled Fabric Waste

On the heels of launching REPREVE 100 – Polartec is again partnering with Unifi to bring another innovation of recycled fabric to market. Last year, Polartec introduced Repreve 100 – a 100% PCR yarn, made from recycled plastic bottles. Today, Polartec announced it will start adding fabric waste to Repreve 100, continuing a commitment to eco-engineering, reducing waste and depending more on recycling for raw materials.  Starting in 2012, Polartec® Repreve 100 yarn will contain 5% fabric cut waste, (cut waste is fabric left over from cutting fabric and sewing a garment together) and 95% plastic bottles.  See official press release here.

Polartec Athlete Advisory Board Hard at Work in Chamonix

The weather in Chamonix provided ideal conditions to test fabric waterproofing.

For the 11 world-class climbers, skiers, mountaineers, runners, explorers and adventure racers on the Polartec Athlete Advisory Board, there’s perhaps nothing as painful as sitting under the fluorescent bulbs of a conference room for an eight-hour meeting. But, if that meeting will result in warmer, drier and lighter fabrics that help them perform faster, longer and more efficiently, they’re happy to put in the time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if that meeting takes place in the international capital of mountain sports – Chamonix, France.

Polartec president Andy Vecchione addresses the group

This past week, the Polartec Advisory Board members traveled from around the world to Chamonix, carrying stacks of prototype baselayers, insulating layers and weather protection jackets they’ve been testing for past 6-12 months. The athletes joined a team of Polartec product developers and company leaders, including Polartec president Andy Vecchione and VP Jon Adelman, for a marathon meeting to discuss the latest in fabric technologies.

The athlete group, which was instrumental in the development of both Polartec Power Shield Pro and Polartec NeoShell fabrics, has been testing a wide variety of exciting new (and top-secret) Polartec innovations. The group has put those fabrics through the proverbial ringer, evaluating them for warmth, breathability, waterproofness and overall comfort. The athletes shared their opinions on their test garments and talked about what they would like to see in the next iteration of prototypes.

We can’t share exactly what innovations are coming from Polartec in the future, but based upon the enthusiasm at the end of the Athlete Advisory Board meeting, we can assure you that there are some really exciting, ground-breaking fabrics in the pipeline.

Climber Bill Belcourt talks about some of his favorite layers

Adventure racer Laurent Vallete shares his thoughts on a prototype Polartec fleece fabric

Climber Gord Betenia does a simple breathability check

Mountaineer Antoine Barthelemy compares two prototype garments

Skier Nick Devore pulls out a baselayer he hadn’t washed in months to test odor control. Antoine and Kelly Cordes show their dissaproval.

The Board found sunshine in nearby Courmayer, Italy.

Senator Scott Brown Visits Polartec

Did you know Polartec is a major supplier to the US Military? Well, out of the company’s Lawrence, MA headquarters, Polartec has worked with the US Military for over a decade – developing new fabric technologies that protect our troops. No melt, no drip fleece that protects soldiers from skin burns during IED explosions? That was us, and we couldn’t drive this innovation without all the dedicated people who work with us everyday.

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown recently toured Polartec’s headquarters in Lawrence, MA, where he met with executives and some of the several hundred employees that work there. The Senator even held a short Q&A with employees.

Polartec President Andy Vecchione shows Senator Brown a garment made from Polartec® Power Dry® FR, a flame resistant, highly breathable and quick drying fabric designed for high speed tactical operations.

Senator Brown can't get over how soft the fleece feels.

There’s a New Sheriff In Town-NeoShell Beats Gore-Tex

We have been updating you on all of the awards that NeoShell has won this year and we are proud to say that the hits just keep on comin’. In the May issue of Popular Science magazine, the top breathable fabrics from both brands were put to the test and Polartec came out on top.

And it goes a little somethin’ like this- “For 35 years, Gore-Tex has dominated the market for waterproof, breathable fabrics, but this spring it has some competition. Textile maker, Polartec, has developed its own waterproof, breathable fabric that threatens to trump Gore-Tex’s latest. We put both through the wringer to see which stands out.”

The Rab Stretch Neo Jacket with Polartec NeoShell went head to head with Millet’s Trilogy Limited GTX with Gore-Tex Active Shell.

The Results: (drum roll please)-”All four testers consistently felt more comfortable in the 17oz Polartec shell, despite the Gore-Tex jacket being 3oz heavier. Testers had to physically air out the Gore-Tex jacket by unzipping its armit vents, whereas sweat evaporated quickly out of the ventless Polartec.”

Needless to say, we are thrilled at the review and it’s a great Monday at Polartec.


Polartec at Cibelis Fashion Week

Last Tuesday in Madrid, designer Ion Fiz presented his autumn-winter 2011-12 collection during Cibeles Fashion Week, the most important fashion show in Spain. In his collection, he has included some garments made with Polartec Power Stretch and Polartec Thermal Pro. The collection, named Diamir by Ion Fiz, earned rave reviews from media and fashion week attendees alike.

Fiz won the 2004 Marie-Claire prize, given to the best new designer and the L’Oreal Paris prize for the best collection at Cibeles for his elegant and sophisticated style. Now he shows his collections annually at Cibeles and sells in Europe and Japan. We at Polartec are always thrilled to see our fabrics being used in unique ways and honored to have been a part of such a well-received collection. Power Stretch has never looked so good…take a look.