Monday, April 25, 2022

The best article you'll read about polyester today

Maybe you knew about the origins of polyester clothing, but I didn't: 
...For Patagonia, Smith wanted a polyester alternative. To find it, she went to South Carolina, presenting the problem to scientists at Milliken & Co., a textile firm renowned for its research lab. She said she was looking for a version of polyester that would ‘move moisture but absorb nothing’. Researchers spent months attacking the problem, eventually developing a chemical treatment that made moisture move along the fiber’s surface.

With that technology in hand, Patagonia developed a line of base layers that Smith dubbed Capilene to suggest capillary action. In fall 1985, the same season Synchilla hit the market, Capilene completely replaced the company’s polypropylene underwear. ‘Those two innovations – base layer and fleece – completely changed the world’s opinion of polyester, not just the outdoor industry’, says Harward. ‘It became seen as the high-end performance comfort fiber. Over time, polyester’s success as a performance fiber allowed it to reclaim its fashion luster. 

Read the whole thing!

1 comment:

  1. What is not mentioned in the article is the competition from wrinkle-free cotton. Treatment of cotton (also developed by textile chemists in the 80s) made high-end cotton almost as wrinkle-resistant as polyester but much softer and far more pleasant to touch.


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