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Testing/​Standards

First wellness label awarded to German sportswear producer

German manufacturer of knitted sportswear Schneider Sportswear OHG from Albstadt in Baden-Württemberg has been awarded the Hohenstein Institute’s first Wellness Label for textiles and clothing. The company’s senior management was presented with the label for use on its products in September by Silke Off, Head of the Laboratory for Clothing Physiology at the Hohenstein Institute, who had played an important part in designing, developing and introducing the n

29th October 2010

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bönnigheim

Sports/​Outdoor, Clothing/​Footwear

Hohenstein Wellness labelGerman manufacturer of knitted sportswear Schneider Sportswear OHG from Albstadt in Baden-Württemberg has been awarded the Hohenstein Institute’s first Wellness Label for textiles and clothing.

The company’s senior management was presented with the label for use on its products in September by Silke Off, Head of the Laboratory for Clothing Physiology at the Hohenstein Institute, who had played an important part in designing, developing and introducing the new label.

Certified for Wellness

“People want to feel comfortable in their clothes. Especially for leisure activities and sport, but also just for relaxing on the sofa at home, there is a big demand for feel-good textiles. They should be as comfortable as possible, soft and supple, skin-friendly and breathable. They should also be high-quality garments which do not lose either their colour or their shape, even after being washed many times,” says the Hohenstein Institute. Now, thanks to its new Wellness Label, consumers can look specifically for certified products which are particularly comfortable to wear and are also easy to look after.

According to the Hohenstein, the concept of wellness textiles is not confined to traditional leisure and wellness clothing but can also apply to items such as dressing-gowns or towels. The new label from the Hohenstein Institute makes it possible for textile products to be objectively measured for their suitability for wellness purposes and means that shoppers can also regard certified products as being of higher quality, because of the extensive testing they have undergone. For sellers, the label is said to be a perfect selling point when they are advising their customers.

Before a textile product can be certified, it must go through a specially developed programme of tests at the independent Hohenstein Institute. For this, appropriate measuring instruments are used to test textile products against defined criteria and assess them. If they are suitable to be classed as wellness tested textiles according to the current guidelines, this is then confirmed.

Skin sensory comfort

From left to right: Elmar Kraus, Director of Kraus und Kroll Textil GmbH in Rottenburg (long-standing supplier to Schneider), Silke Off from the Hohenstein Institute, Dieter Schneider and Annette Kemmler, both Managing Directors of Schneider Sportswear OHG“How comfortable a textile product is to wear is largely determined by its skin sensory properties. This is the term used to describe the immediate ‘touch sensation’ that the product makes on the skin,” Hohenstein’s scientists say. Five different measurements are taken in order to quantify objectively how a textile product feels to the wearer when it is in direct contact with their skin.

The surface finish index states whether the product scratches the skin or feels nice and soft. The sticking index shows how much a textile product sticks to damp skin and consequently feels uncomfortable. The wetting index provides information about how quickly moisture is absorbed by the textile product when you sweat, and is subsequently carried away from the skin. The number of contact points between the textile and the skin is used to measure how quickly the textile starts to feel clammy and damp.

The stiffness measurement is important for how well the textile product fits your body and can be an indication of how comfortable in general the garment seems to the wearer. The breathability of the textile is also measured. Taking all the measurements together, the level of skin sensory comfort is calculated and the skin sensory properties of the textile product that is being tested are judged against defined limit values.

As well as the skin sensory properties, the ease of care of textile products is also tested, with regard to their colourfastness under ISO 105-B02, their dimensional stability after 20 washes and their general resistance to washing. If the textile product that is being tested meets all the target specifications, it is endorsed with the Wellness Label.

Top priorities for Schneider Sportswear

Schneider Sportswear OHG's new knitting and technology centre in Albstadt-Pfeffingen is intended to preserve the region's textile heritage. The modern and efficient knitting machines put the company in a very strong position for future growth.Wellness, comfort and quality are said to be top priorities for Schneider Sportswear, as Silke Off explains: "This company, which sets such high standards for its products, is tailor-made to launch the new Wellness Label. During its development phase, both sides benefited from our close cooperation."

Schneider operates in the sports fabrics segment which is mainly dominated by the world-famous brand names of powerful global players. However, rather than making products for top athletes, the traditional company makes high-quality sportswear for people of all ages who take an active approach to life. Annette Kemmler, Managing Director of Schneider Sportswear OHG, explains: "We want to offer the best possible wellness clothing for people who have found their own, individual interpretation of sport and fitness as part of their personal lifestyle. For us, it's enormously important that our products meet all the highest specifications for quality and fit."

With its unique selling point of a ‘Sizing service’, which guarantees a perfect fit by means of a clever system of colours and numbers, the company’s strategy is to produce consumer-oriented collections for customers in German speaking countries. What is extremely important here is that the company develops its own fabrics, always with a view to the design and function of the products in question.

Knitted fabrics are manufactured to the highest quality standards in Schneider’s new knitting and technology centre in Albstadt-Pfeffingen which went into operation in 2009. The facility is equipped with the latest knitting machines and as part of a pilot project, extra lint extractors are installed to provide optimised knitting conditions. Together with EDP controlled processes, conditions in the knitting room ensure maximum production efficiency. Schneider Sportswear currently employs 60 people in Albstadt-Pfeffingen and a further 180 garment assemblers Eastern Europe, 80 of them at its own factory in Bulgaria.

 

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