US fashion brand, Under Armour, has teamed up with speciality materials and chemicals company Celanese Corporation to introduce a sustainable alternative fibre to spandex, designed for performance stretch fabrics. The new fabric, named Neolast, aims to tackle sustainability challenges associated with elastane.
According to Under Armour, a “critical” step in addressing the recycling issues posed by blended textiles including elastane, is the use of recyclable elastoester polymers in the production process of Neolast.
A patented solvent-free melt-extrusion method is used in the production of these fibres, which is claimed to remove potentially dangerous compounds commonly found in stretch fabrics made of elastane.
In addition to being more environmentally friendly, Neolast fibres are said to provide higher manufacturing accuracy, allowing spinners to modify power-stretch levels and design fibres to fulfil a wider range of fabric requirements.
Tom Kelly, senior vice president of engineered materials at Celanese commented on the collaboration and said: “Celanese is proud to bring its polymer expertise and technical know-how to help manufacture Neolast fibres for textiles and fabrics to meet the specific needs of our customers and other value chain partners.”
Kyle Blakely, senior vice president of innovation at Under Armour added: “This new Neolast fibre represents a transformative innovation for Under Armour and the textile industry.”
The newly developed Neolast fibres are believed to offer powerful stretch, durability, comfort, and improved moisture-wicking properties.
Celanese intends to explore application opportunities with Under Armour while making Neolast available to the broader apparel industry, potentially reducing its dependence on elastane.