THE FUTURE OF FUNCTIONAL FABRICS
Interview with Hans Bergman from Polygiene
More and more consumers are demanding for their clothing to have multiple functions to them. Whether their garments wick away moisture, trap in heat, or eliminate odor there has been an increase in demand for functional fabrics.
Polygiene is the leading internationally recognized supplier of odor control and freshness technologies for clothing, gear and other materials. Its Commercial Director, Hans Bergman, is a serial entrepreneur who has founded eight companies in six different countries. Armed with a MBA from University of San Diego and University of Hong Kong, Hans delivers both practical and academic insights and solutions to global business challenges. Prior to this assignment, he started up ASSOS North America and later on managed KJUS Skiwear for a combined period of 10 years.
We talked with Hans about Polygiene’s innovative additives used to enhance clothing materials and the future of functional fabrics.
What additives do you use to enhance fabrics?
Polygiene innovates and markets additives that wash into fabrics. We have two products: Polygiene BioStatic and Polygiene Odor Crunch. For Polygiene Biostatic, we use Silver, Chloride and natural bonding agents to prevent the additives from leeching. Polygiene Biostatic prevents odor-causing bacteria from penetrating the garment. Polygiene’s latest product is Odor Crunch which consists of silica, the main ingredient in sand, modified with ions with well established anti-odor properties. Polygiene won an award from the Scandinavian Outdoor Group for Most Sustainable Product in 2019.
In your experience, have you seen an increase of functional fabrics in intimate apparel and activewear?
We are now seeing more and more demands from high-end intimate apparel brands. Demand from activewear brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Athleta, Patagonia, Arc’teryx among others, has been strong for some 5-6 years.
Do you see functional fabrics being used more in the future?
We definitely see a greater interest now, mainly due to the environmental concerns from endconsumers and brands. Polygiene allows a person to skip a wash even after using a t-shirt or sweater, suit, socks for a day. Even if a person still would wash a pair of underwear after using for a day, the bacteria would not stay in the garment which is the case if the product has not been treated (even after washing). For a bra, we are getting lots of demand right now for treating the entire bra and the lining. This would prolong the lifespan (meaning less landfills which is a problem today. The average person throws away +20 kilos (45 Lbs) of clothes each year!).
How do these fabrics enhance the customers’ experience?
Our customers tell us that there are several benefits and these are all in the Polygiene mantra: Wear More - Wash Less. A Polygiene treated shirt doesn’t smell, so the person can relax as he/she will not emit an odor. Also, the person does not need to spend as much time washing = save time. By washing less, a person saves time, water, money (because the garment does not wear out as fast from washing). Lastly, the person feels great about herself by saving water and by flushing less microplastics into the fresh water. In short; there are many benefits to having a Polygiene treated garment.