In February this year I got the opportunity to meet with the worlds leading fleece fabric company, Polartec®. They are known for leading the innovation on these types of mid-layer fabrics and it was a really interesting meeting.
Fleece fabric has been around since the late 1970, and it was originally developed by Malden Mills, a Massachusetts textile maker. In the early 1980, through a collaboration with the California based outdoor company Patagonia, the fabric was brought to the sportswear market. The initial idea was to make a fabric that could mimic wool properties but with the benefits that a synthetic fiber could provide.
I believe that most of us have used a fleece jacket and been amazed by the comfort, warmth and quick drying properties the fleece fabric has to offer.
There have been quite a few different variations of fleece fabrics available over the years, but it has never been reinvented like this before. During my meeting with Polartec® I was introduced to their newest fabric that they call Polartec®Power Air™and was introduced to the market last year.
This fabric does not only have all the great properties of regular premium fleece like great comfort, warmth and quick drying properties, it also sheds up to five times less microfiber than other premium mid-layer fabrics. On top of this, being made form 89% recycled polyester, Blue signed approved and Oeko-tex Standard, make this fabrics as far as I know, by far, the most sustainable fleece fabric available on the market today.
All this is achieved by a new knitting construction that encapsulate fibers, making small air pockets which also gives this fabric a quite interesting and unique expression.
As this project has been running slightly in the background, l have not been able to share that many details until now. But here comes everything that have happened up until today.
The plan is that this will result in two fleece jackets. The first one will be in the outdoor specific range and this jacket will compliment the Ljung pants perfectly. The idea is to make a hooded jacket that is as versatile as the Ljung pant featured with everything you need to have it perform in any outdoor activity.
The second jacket is to be placed within the Outdoor essentials range. The idea is to make a mid-layer that is much more simpler than the fleece hoodie, and that works as a base reinforcement layer, I see something like a fleece cardigan infront of me.
Working with the design, I have focused on applying the same design principles as used on the Ljung pants. Keeping everything quite simple and straight forward.
Apart from this amazing fabric these jackets will also use zippers from YKK and Blue signed approved buckles from Duraflex.
Once the initial design sketches had been dialed in, I seized an opportunity to work with a really experienced pattern maker called Malin. Malin has been working in the outdoor industry for more the 15 years and this really speeded up the process. It was a real joy bouncing design and constructions ideas back and forth.
All instructions and patterns have just been sent to our factory partner in Vietnam, the same factory that produce the Ljung pants and as soon as all trims and fabrics have arrived, the production of the samples will get started.