Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Not Your Mother’s Raincoat:
Meet the Latest in Sustainably Weatherproof Clothing

This week, VF Corp announced it will throw $20M of its weight behind the upcoming launch of The North Face’s revolutionary FutureLight fabric; and G-Star Raw launched its sustainably weatherproof Citishield jeans for men.

VF Corp to expand investment into FutureLight™: the world's most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology

Image credit: The North Face

After reporting better than expected results in its first quarter this week, global apparel giant VF Corporation — parent company of 20 outdoor, active and work brands, including The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Eagle Creek, Icebreaker, Dickies and more — announced that it will put a $20 million marketing push behind The North Face’s FutureLight™ material, launching this fall. FutureLight, which won the Top Emerging Tech Award at CES 2019 in January, is what The North Face is calling the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear material available, set to revolutionize the future of technical fabrics.

"Right now, the expectation from a waterproof product is something loud, crunchy, muggy and unpackable. With FutureLight, we can theoretically use the technology to make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time, comfortable," Scott Mellin, Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face, said at the launch in January. "Imagine a waterproof t-shirt, sweater or even denim that you actually want to wear. Today, we start with jackets, tents and gloves, but the possibilities could be endless."

With FutureLight technology, The North Face is also setting a new standard in sustainability through new practices in the fabric-creation process. These advances have allowed the brand to responsibly create three-layer garments — customizable in varying levels of permeability, depending on the sport or activity — through use of recycled fabrics and production that cuts chemical consumption, all while being produced in a cleaner, solar-powered factory.

The Nanospinning process used to create FutureLight fabric has allowed the brand's designers to add unprecedented air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates Nano-level holes, allowing for incredible porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.

Additionally, Nanospinning gives designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction (knit or woven), and texture to match athletes' and consumers' activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage — for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates. The ability to adjust these factors in fabric construction is unprecedented in apparel, equipment and accessories.

FutureLight fabric will become available to consumers in The North Face's Fall 2019 product line and will be featured across the brand's pinnacle performance collections.


G-Star Raw launches sustainable, weather-proof denim for men

Image credit: G-Star Raw

Meanwhile, G-Star Raw continues to raise the bar for innovations in denim sustainability: Just weeks after the release of its latest Dyed by Nature’ collection of garments dyed with upcycled leaves and beetroot waste, the brand has announced the launch of its Citishield 3D tapered jean, exclusively for men, for Fall ‘19.

While the announcement is short on details, it says that, in addition to “key design components that allow the wearer to move through the city with ease though functionality” — including adjustable cuffs, side-zip pockets and an anti-theft pocket for added security — the jeans are made with a sustainable, PFC-free, high-performance, water-repellent finish that make the jeans fully weatherproof — which could prove a handy feature in this age of increasing extreme weather events. Hopefully, women will have the ability to weather storms in Citishield jeans, as well, someday.

In the meantime, the G-Star RAW Citishield 3D Slim Tapered jean for men is available online and in-store.

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