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Shinhan rebrands high-performance outdoor fabrics

Leading Korean fabric maker introduces Whitebrow brand to develop market awareness amongst retailers and consumers.

13th February 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Ansan City, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea


South Korea’s Shinhan is rebranding with a new name and logo. Since its establishment in 1993, Shinhan has played a dominant role in the technical textiles industry as a fabric manufacturer and supplier for top outdoor clothing brands.

Despite its technological capabilities and continuous innovation, Shinhan has failed to position itself in the market due to a lack of brand presence. Some of the most well-known waterproof, breathable brands have established a clear concept and sub-brand structure that makes it easier for customers to identify and remember. However, Shinhan has now set up a plan to build a stronger brand with a clear vision. The new brand name ‘Whitebrow’ translates to ‘best of the best’ in Korean, the company explains.

"The first objective of branding is to create loyalty with brand owners and communicate our high standards with consumers. Ultimately, we hope to see Whitebrow hangtags on all finished products made with our fabric," comments Jong Hoon Lee, President of Shinhan.

Whitebrow logo

The black and white geometric shapes in the Whitebrow logo resemble a snow-covered mountain and also the letter W which is the first and last letter of the word Whitebrow. The three black lines represent the three layers of a waterproof and breathable fabric, as well as a series of white lines in between that stands for excellent breathability and air permeability.

Meaning of Whitebrow

The name Whitebrow is derived from a mountaineer’s white snowy eyebrow on a climb to reach the summit. With cutting-edge technology, Whitebrow fabrics are set to be a game changer for outdoor enthusiasts, Shinhan says.

© Shinhan

Main sub-brands

Proweb Pro: World’s first electro-spun PU membrane completely free of fluorine. It is by far the lightest, most breathable and sustainable waterproof membrane available in the market, the company explains

Prolayer: Waterproof and breathable 2L, 2.5L and 3L fabrics made from hydrophilic and hydrophobic membranes

Ultralight: Super lightweight fabrics made for applications such as down proof jackets, sleeping bags, lining material, and so much more

Super Tenacity: The use of high tenacity UHMWPE fibre allows very high resistance to tearing and abrasion

Plus+: A wide range of materials coupled with various treatments and performance finishes

Sub-brand details

Proweb Pro uses a next-generation electro-spun technology to produce the most advanced waterproof membrane that can only be precisely controlled and processed at Shinhan. With the regulation of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ around the world, Shinhan has developed Proweb Pro which is the first 100% fluorine-free electro-spun PU membrane for the outdoor textile industry.

Prolayer includes all 2L, 2.5L, and 3L constructions that are not only waterproof, but also super light and highly breathable. The choice of membrane will depend on the specific needs and required function. Some of the polymers include PU, TPU, TPEE, PP, Nylon that can also be substituted by eco-friendly solutions such as DMF free, bio-based, and recycled materials. Shinhan is also working on mono-material constructions starting with 100% polyester to the next level 100% PA6 which is said to be the first 3L recyclable nylon textile.

Whitebrow Ultralight combines a tight weave construction that is strong and downproof with air permeability levels controlled under a strict quality management system. The sub-brand includes 7D recycled nylons, down proof DTY nylons and 100% fishing net nylons derived from pre-existing sources. More visual orientated is the Zzagle series, designed to add a unique glossy surface with natural wrinkles and a buttery soft hand feel.

The Super Tenacity sub-brand uses ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) the strongest fibre in the world to add tensile strength and abrasion resistance for the first time in outdoor textiles. Shinhan has invested in 20 new air jet weaving machines only for the purpose of developing strategic weave structures with UHMWPE that cannot be easily replicated or replaced. Starting from as low as 20 denier, the UHMWPE fibre is combined with other materials to suit a wide range of demanding applications including outdoor clothing and gear, military, workwear, and motorcycle denim. Shinhan is also working on a collaborative promotion with Honeywell Spectra.

© Shinhan

Finally, the last sub-brand includes PLUS+, demonstrates the latest blend of innovation coupled with different compositions and performance finishes. These include DURAPLUS, an eco-friendly processing technique that reduces large amounts of wastewater and chemicals; cotton blends and stretch fabrics; high-tech thermoregulation fabrics; and creative designs are played with peaching and washing.

Strategic investments

Laboratory dyeing

Shinhan has invested US$3.8 million on automated machines not only to maximise efficiency and quality but also to improve workplace safety. New techniques for dyeing began early this year with the addition of Technorama's automatic laboratory dyeing machine. Precisely controlled dosing is carried out for 24 hours a day, seven days a week resulting in reduced human errors and consistent quality across the entire manufacturing process.

Robotic dye dispenser

Another cutting-edge technology is the robotic dye dispenser that operates under an automated system called 4CORE. A barcode scanning system is used to transfer data from the recipe software where it precisely measures the exact weight of dyestuff and transports it directly to the dye tanks safely and quickly in untouched automation.

Advanced fabric inspection

At the recent ITMA exhibition in Milan, Shinhan signed a purchase agreement with Bianco, a leader in the manufacturing of textile machinery. These changes are set out in the new business plan with human inspection to be replaced with Bianco's SMART VISION fabric inspection machine in the next few years. The first machine is scheduled to be in operation by March 2024. The SMART VISION inspection machine is equipped with a revolutionary image scanning system and deep learning methods that can identify and locate defects – even the minor and low contrast marks that are difficult for human eyes to pick up. This machine is said to outperform human inspectors in terms of accuracy, consistency, and time – running at a speed of 100 metres/minute, which is equivalent to 100,000 yards per day per machine.

Waterless smart dyeing

The first waterless smart dyeing pilot machine will be set up at Shinhan early this year as an initial stage in meeting sustainability goals in textile dyeing. The main purpose of this investment is to explore alternative dyeing methods without substituting the current dyes that are used in-house, unlike other commercially available waterless dyeing technologies which are known to use modified dyes.

© Shinhan

The next step is to introduce textile management software providing optimised solutions for dyeing and finishing – making manufacturing smarter and efficient. The automated system controller can save a considerable amount of energy, ranging from steam and water to the electricity fed into machines. First trials will start early this year starting within the main dye house. Once the system is under control, the project will later expand to preparing and finishing machines as a way of optimising production from start to finish down the vertical line.

In addition, new projects for smarter textiles production include automatic loading and unloading of textiles and robotic transport devices that can radically reduce basic, lower skilled labour.

Shinhan believes that maintaining stable product quality will build trust and loyalty with customers, resulting in increased sales and competitive advantage in the market.

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