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Fruitful partnership with Uniqlo for Toray

Quick-drying properties of Dry-Ex made from recycled PET have been widely appreciated.

23rd June 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Japan

Sports/​Outdoor, Clothing/​Footwear

Affordable, timeless apparel that can be worn for a long time is the idea behind Uniqlo’s LifeWear concept.

The Japanese clothing retailer aims to counteract the ever-increasing speed and wastefulness of fast fashion and one indispensable element is high-quality materials. To this end, Uniqlo has been teaming up with Toray for more than a decade.

The long-standing strategic partnership between the two Japanese companies began in 2006 and a big achievement has been the subsequent development of Heattech, a ground-breaking material that uses the body’s heat and moisture to keep the wearer warm.

The fabric traps warm air in the air pockets between fine acrylic fibres, which are each one-tenth the thickness of a strand of hair. Over 10,000 prototypes were needed to get the fabric structure just right, but the end result was worth the effort. The heat-retaining material is produced by Toray exclusively for Uniqlo.

In the meantime, the partnership has expanded to include a range of other materials, including the light and silky AIRism innerwear fabric, ultra-light down jackets, and, most recently, the highly functional yet environmentally friendly Dry-Ex.

This material is made using recycled fibres from PET bottles, and its quick-drying properties make it a great choice for performance wear, as demonstrated in the Dry-Ex polo shirt range, as recently worn by leading sportsmen and women.

The partnership between Uniqlo and companies was celebrated at the 2019 LifeWear Day in London. Since then, the focus of the partnership has increasingly been on a greater emphasis on sustainability.

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