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Science & fashion coexist in performance fabrics

Sep '06
Use of performance fabrics is gaining currency among apparel manufactures and customers, though such apparel adds to cost upto 20 percent.

The fusion of fabric and technology started in the 1970s, has now captured about 18 percent and will soon share more of the total mens apparel market.

Eighty percent of the apparel made by Speedo, a division of Warnaco Group Inc., includes performance elements like the iconic mens Speedo swimsuit, and fashionable, sleek activewear.

Performance fabrics are designed not only for athletes but also any one who needs durable clothing like in the case of workers and labourers in such industries as hotel or construction and landscape.

The weather-resistant and stain-resistant fabrics serve still a wide variety of purposes.

A New York-based design studio is incorporating steel into natural fibers to offer anti-radiation capabilities, while Columbia Sportswear, is testing an anti-mosquito fabric.

Quiksilver, the US surf-inspired apparel brand, has recently launched a performance wear line featuring UV, wind or rain protection, wicking and anti-odor protection.

The recent Magic Marketplace apparel trade show in Las Vegas unveiled the beautiful blend in clothing and footwear of these companies: Columbia Sportswear Co, Nike Inc, Speedo and surf-inspired Quiksilver Inc.

Menswear makers have increasingly embraced technical fabrics over the past five years; the women's market has still a long way to go.

It has just started with Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova sporting Nike outfits boasting moisture management technology and maximum ventilation at the US Open held in New York City.

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