We Have The Technology
In the ’70s, robotics, rocketry and space travel were at the forefront of technology, which explains why Austin was a half-robot ex-astronaut. Today, scientific focus has shifted more toward genetics and chemistry, so instead of shirts made from space plastic, we have performance garments using special treatments to enhance or add features.
Lopez explained why chemical additives are used instead of merely relying on fabrics with intrinsic performance attributes, like bamboo. She said applying a chemical finish gives a more consistent performance from item to item, as opposed to natural fibers, which can vary a bit in how well their features work.
A downside of these enhancements is that checking for functioning chemistry is a little tougher than verifying fabric durability by hand, but thankfully, it’s not impossible. Just like putting Austin on the treadmill before you have him in a track suit chasing down terrorists, all it takes to check on chemical performance treatments is a little testing.
Because some treatments, like moisture wicking, can eventually wash out of apparel, Chad Trollinger, director of marketing for Augusta Sportswear, Augusta, Ga., recommended distributors look for companies that do extensive wash-testing on their garments in order to make sure chemical attributes will last the life span of the clothing.
“Another key factor for us is, ‘Does it print?’” he added. “We want to make sure our customers can imprint on it without everything melting or the properties going away, so you have to make sure that when it’s decorated it will maintain integrity.”
No one wants to look like an abomination of science. It’s all about looking the part: Slick, confident and possibly moving in slow motion because you’re doing something incredible.
For performance apparel, this is translated in several ways. Choosing clothing destined for scholastic sports or recreation leagues is best accomplished by monitoring college and professional style trends. Trollinger explained Augusta Sportswear starts by watching such trends, including subtle things like relative tightness of jerseys or bagginess of shorts. The next step, he said, is offering customers variations or improvements on these designs. “Any way they can get a new color block or a different twist on a piping is kind of what they look at,” said Trollinger.