In recent months, several apparel brands and manufacturers have announced their intentions to reduce or eliminate fluorine chemistries from their textile products; most setting a deadline of five years out. For the makers of cotton outerwear, however, that timeline can be significantly accelerated. Through a collaborative project with Archroma, Cotton Incorporated has perfected a fluorine-free version of its STORM COTTON™ technology, a textile finish that adds durable water repellency to cotton outerwear.
Over the past decade, Cotton Incorporated has introduced a range of textile technologies that enhance the performance capabilities of cotton in the outdoor and athletic apparel categories. Notable among these is the TransDRY™ moisture-wicking technology, and the suite of STORM COTTON™ durable water-repellent finishes for cotton, denim and fleece. These have enabled cotton to be more competitive in apparel categories historically dominated by man-made fibers.
"As a partner to the global cotton supply chain, part of our job at Cotton Incorporated is to speed to market technical options that will benefit cotton, the supply chain and the consumer," says David Earley, Senior Director, Global Supply Chain Marketing.
Earley explains that the recent addition helps complete a portfolio of water-repellent cotton options for the textile industry: "The original STORM COTTON finish was a C-8 technology; we followed that up with a C-6 version to broaden its implementation; and now we are able to offer a fluoro-free version."
Performance finishes such as those that offer water and stain protection are essential to the outdoor apparel category, and have historically contained some level of fluorine chemistry.
"Fluorine chemistries have been around for a long time because they are effective," explains Brad McClanahan, Global Head of Marketing at Archroma, whose chemistry was used to develop the fluoro-free alternative.
Accordingly to Earley, lab trials for the new STORM COTTON formulation were successful for both performance and quality, and were duplicated in a full-scale mill run. "This technology has been rigorously tested and is market-ready," says Earley.
"Archroma prides itself on offering chemical solutions aimed at meeting the industry's most demanding requirements," says McClanahan, adding, "We are very pleased to have been involved with a project that helps interested brands and manufacturers achieve their goals more quickly."
Cotton Incorporated is currently researching similar formulations for the full range of their technical finishes, including the TransDRY™ moisture-wicking technology.