Polartec wants to raise its brand awareness with a bigger marketing budget under the ownership of Milliken & Company, the big American textile group that took over the fleece fabric producer a few months ago (Compass Vol. 12 N° 11+12 of June 28, 2019). It has already changed its logo, making it more contemporary.
“I think you’ll see us getting louder with consumers,” said Steve Layton, the new president of Polartec. With this, he wants to provide more support to the brands that use its fabrics by highlighting the ways in which people use them and the stories behind the products. He added that the company is also boosting its salesforce and deploying new human resources for production planning and the supervision of the manufacturing process.
Layton, who has been with Milliken since 2012, took the place of Gary Smith at Polartec following the takeover. Smith is now working for a luxury yacht company, while Layton is working on a strategic plan for Polartec through 2025.
Many new products are in the pipeline, making use of Milliken’s vast capabilities in terms of material science, but Layton declined to provide any details, except for pointing to the biodegradable solutions that the company is still working on.
For the time being, Polartec wants to go deeper in the areas where it is strong, scaling platforms such Polartec Neoshell, Polartec Power Air and Polartec Alpha.
The company is increasing five-fold the capacity for Power Air, with Milliken helping out with the supply of the yarn. In addition to Houdini, the first client to have adopted a lighter version of Power Air, many other sports and outdoor brands have adopted the regular Power Air for the first time in their autumn/winter 2020/21 collections including Helly Hansen, Norrøna, Griffin, Cape Horn, Mammut, Millet, Montura, Teton Bros. and 66 North.
In cycling, Santini has also applied Power Air to an UCI lifestyle collection. In fashion, new adopters have been Bleed, Diva (Japan) and LC23. Polartec has already made some headways in the broader active lifestyle fashion market in the past season, thanks in part because of its use of recycled fabrics, which were taken up by Kappa, Diadora and two other special brands: a Japanese outdoor fashion label called “and wander” and a Danish contemporary cycling label, Pas Normal Studios.