Outdoor apparel company Ibex, based in Vermont in the USA, will launch in autumn this year a set of jackets for men and women using OptimTM technology that makes the fabric resistant to wind and water.
“We first came across the Optim material at The Woolmark Company’s stand at the 2016 Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City,” said Vice President of Marketing at Ibex, Keith Anderson.
“The Woolmark team showed our team The Wool Lab and their latest innovations. Instantly, we were impressed with the performance and richness of the Optim fabric. The fact that it is a high-performance woven fabric with weather resistant properties that is made from simply 100% wool blew us away.
“The thing that really grabbed our attention about the fabric is that it provides us with a natural alternative – by using the weave structure to create the performance properties instead of the widely-used practices of DWR (durable water repellent) and topical chemical finishes. This water resistance will last the life of the garment and not just 20 washes like DWR and other chemical finishes which break down quickly.
“We left The Woolmark Company’s stand with a couple of samples ready to test, and in a cold and wet Vermont winter, we put the samples through a variety of everyday activities – from hiking to skiing and ice climbing. The jackets took a fair amount of abuse in all sorts of weather. From our testers' points of view, the jacket did exactly what it needed to do, it kept everyone dry and allowed moisture vapour to escape without issue, all while allowing the quiet nature of the fabric to be appreciated.”
Ibex was founded in 1997 and uses wool as the primary fabric for all its clothing. Its products are available online and at 330 stores across the USA and Canada. The company’s ongoing success and growth is due to its determined passion for building exceptional performance products from select Merino wool and other natural fibres.
“Ibex has been around for 20 years and we have always focused on wool as the foundation of our lifestyle and performance clothing. Although we concentrate on using fine Merino in the breadth of our range, we utilise a variety of microns to provide additional texture and strength for particular products,” Mr Anderson said.
There will be two new Ibex jackets made from the Optim fabric, both for men and women. The Pursuit Shell is mountain sport inspired and clean cut for athletic endeavours; the Pursuit Trench is urban focused with a modern and tailored trench style.
“The initial reaction in the market, at trade shows, has been exciting and we can't wait to introduce it to consumers in a few months’ time for the Fall/Winter 2017 season. Beyond that, we will look for more year-round applications for this fabric to live throughout our product range.”