Mens suiting materials hasn't much changed in the last few centuries as menswear is known to evolve at the pace of snail. As menswear innovation usually focuses on functionality and practical needs, we have seen some very useful innovations in recent years with better R&D that involves sustainability and eco-friendly in mind.
Machine Washable Wool
One of the biggest concern for consumers when purchasing Wool garments is the cost of dry-cleaning. If not laundered properly, Wool will shrink using normal machine wash or hand wash processes. For years, Wool mills has tried to overcome this problem by mixing polyester (not comfortable for breathability) or using chemical top finishing (which doesn't last).
The Neulana Protect fabric was developed at the Wool Development Centre, which was set up in 2013 in China, by both The Woolmark Company and The Nanshan Group. The resultant unique, high-performance fabric is one that is resistant to both wind and water, making it suitable for outdoor wear and sports such as recreational sailing. The fabric is constructed at very high levels of thread density in warp and weft using fine Merino wool yarns that have been stretched, but not set, during OptimTM processing. It is only when the fabric is wet-finished that the stretch is released causing the yarns to contract, thus leading to an extreme tightening of the fabric structure and the creation of the immensely dense fabric.
After optimising the spinning, weaving and finishing processes, the fabrics made from these elastic Merino wool fibres have enhanced water and wind resistant properties (while retaining all Merino wool’s fine properties such as breathability) and are also machine washable, without any chemical treatments.
(source: The Woolmark company www.woolmark.com)
Now, a suit that can be machine washed entirely!
In Pitti Uomo this year, Z Zegna with TechmerinoTM staged a tennis match with life-size mannequins to show the power and versatility of lightweight, stretchy performance designs, using wool in various guises for players, spectators and the umpire, ranging from TechmerinoTM suits to athleisure, through to fully functional professional activewear. What’s of particular interest is the TechmerinoTM Wash&Go suit - summer suiting that can be domestically machine washed while maintaining its comfort, performance and naturally casual fit. Lightweight and extremely soft, it offers unrestrained freedom and breathability with the added benefit of easy maintenance.
While this innovation is currently exclusive to Z Zegna, we hope to see this being available to the mass market in near future.
With environmental and sustainability concerns for today's millennial, textile mills has been looking at alternative source of fibre materials for clothing. Recent developments include the use of soy, corn fibres, wool, pineapple and bamboo. In fact bamboo fibres being used in garment has been around more than a decade, however its adaption in suiting materials has been slow. Bamboo fibres are also known as rayon in the textile industry.
Natural properties of bamboo includes its very smooth and soft hand feel, allergy-free and its anti-bacterial properties which saw its early use in undergarments. Bamboo are also abundant all over the world and it is easy to grow compared to cotton. With today's technology, bamboo fibres are able to be woven into suiting fabrics that drapes and appear like wool, but retain its high breathability properties, smoother hand feel as well as a unique texture that only comes with bamboo fibres.
Curious to find out more about bamboo suiting? We have a bunch of bamboo suiting collection from Huddersfield available. Do ask us about it!
Bio-degradable suiting lining
Reda presented the revolutionary biodegradable lining they have developed for wool suits, following on from the enormous research put into Reda Active performance wool fabrics. Named Reda Active Lifeproof, the new degradable polymer layer ensures the sustainable nature of the whole outfit, marking a significant step forward, as explained by Reda’s Ercole Botto Poala: “This was developed, tested and manufactured completely in our factory in Valle Mosso. Reda conducts a constant search for excellence, in the long tradition of Biella. It's the continuing development of an environmentally friendly product to combine technology and sustainability in a single wool fabric, further increasing its functionality.”