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Knitting / Apparel

Outlast Technologies Goes To Bed

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

Outlast Technologies Inc., Boulder, Colo., has taken its temperature-regulating technologies into home textile products. Originally developing the technology for NASA astronauts to help them maintain a comfortable body temperature in outer space, Outlast discovered a need for this technology in down-to-earth consumer products.

"The timing is right, the consumer is more educated," said Guy Eckert, executive vice president of business development, Home Market. "The demand for high-performance fabrics is growing. Once consumers have tried Outlast, they will look for it again."

Eckert explained that Outlast technology responds to changes in body temperature. Micro-encapsulated Thermocules™ absorb excess body heat, store it and then release it when the body is cold, thereby maintaining body temperature at a comfortable level. It can be delivered in a fiber or via finishing. There are three designations: Bronze is achievable via finishing; Silver works through finish or fabric; and Gold through fabric only.

Hosiery is one market where Outlast technology is in demand. Gold Toe, Wigwam and Harley Davidson are some of the sock resources. In footwear, it is used by Nike, New Balance, The North Face and Arnold Palmer golf shoes. Men's suits with Outlast technology are sold at Jos. A Bank. Marks & Spencer is selling underwear featuring Outlast.

Recently, Outlast was introduced into bedding products including pillows, mattress-ticking fabrics, mattress pads, woven blankets and duvet covers.

According to sleep experts, 65 to 68°F is the ideal room temperature for sleeping. Under the covers, it is difficult to maintain the ideal temperature. As we sleep, our temperature goes up, so we toss and turn and throw off the covers. After considerable in-depth testing, it was proven that Outlast technology prevents discomfort and keeps the body comfortable in bed at night, according to the company.

As a result of this testing, Outlast is licensing companies to create and sell collections of sleepwear and bedding products. Kohl's, Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears, Belk, Bon Ton and Avon are among them. Recently, Dillard's introduced "Just Right" sleepwear under its Clarity™ brand. Pajamas and nightshirts are on sale in a blend of Outlast viscose/cotton.

Minneapolis-based bed retailer Select Comfort Corp. has launched the Enhanced Sleep Number 7000 Bed. The 12-inch-thick mattress is covered with a new fabric in a blend of Outlast viscose/polypropylene/silk that is softened with aloe vera. The company also is selling mattress pads and pillows featuring Outlast temperature regulation.

Eckert said that approximately 37 percent of Americans have trouble falling asleep because they are too hot. Add to that our aging population with menopausal women whose temperature can shift 6°F. The company claims Outlast technology in bedding reduces overheating and provides a balanced, comfortable climate, so two people can sleep comfortably together.

July/August 2008