We Have The Technology
Remember “The Six Million Dollar Man”? Who wouldn’t want to be Steve Austin, with his bionic powers and awesome track suits? Sure, there’s the whole surviving a terrible plane crash, followed by hours of experimental and dangerous surgery. And the government probably would want a return on its investment, which is likely why Austin spent most of his time fighting malfunctioning space robots or Sasquatch, as opposed to making a mint playing pro tennis. On second thought, maybe being the Six Million Dollar Man doesn’t sound so good after all.
Perhaps there is a compromise. Instead of replacing half your body with cybernetics, leading to a lifetime of being the government’s go-to cleanup man, why not enhance your clothing instead? After all, some athletic apparel can have performance features that rival the abilities of Steve Austin himself, with the added perk of not costing $6 million to build. Whether it’s moisture-wicking fabric, UV protection or stretch features, you may not be tackling any errant robots, but you can still be the hero of the athletic field.
Just as with building a cybernetic action hero, with performance and athletic apparel, durability is of prime concern. Incorporating this quality into performance apparel, however, can be a little trickier than making something out of hard metal. The synthetic fibers often used in high-tech apparel, while athletically desirable, also tend to catch or snag, which isn’t ideal for apparel that might have to survive a contact sport. Betty Lopez, merchandiser for Vantage Apparel, Avenel, N.J., had a few suggestions on how distributors can avoid choosing weaker garments.
She explained that adjusting the needle tension and gauges used in fabric construction can help prevent the snagging problem, and added, “Well-designed apparel will have tightly knit fabric using finer yarn, and you can usually identify this fabric by the better quality and sleeker hand.” Lopez also acknowledged that lighter-weight fabrics can improve evaporation and breathability, but cautioned distributors to look for a happy medium between weight and strength. Erring on the side of performance features will make the garment too sheer and delicate.