June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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How the performance market has evolved b y D a v i D b e b o n A Cotton Renaissance 34 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 The woven sport shirt now offers a menu of performance features as well as new fabrics, patterns, and topical and mechanical treat- ments to yarns and fabrics. (All images courtesy Bodek and Rhodes) S omewhere behind the branded polos and vast array of 100 percent polyester knit tops and bottoms is the woven sport shirt. Yes, it's that beloved ox- ford or solid twill shirt your father used to wear—the shirt that garners little fanfare or exciting marketing plugs, the shirt that is worn as part of a work uniform or for weekend outings. However, the modern woven shirt is step- ping up its game to stand out in the crowded corporate market with a menu of performance features. There's a great influx of new fabrics, patterns, and topical and mechanical treatments to yarns and fabrics that bring performance to the woven sport shirt. COTTON VS. COTTON BLENDS Unlike the knit-driven performance in to- day's golf polos and the athletic arena that are almost exclusively 100 percent polyester, the woven sport shirt is 100 percent cotton and cotton-blended fabrics. The 100 percent cot- ton story was completely void of performance up until 10 years ago. This was mainly because the 100 percent cotton fabrics weren't techno- logically capable of delivering performance and durability in yarn and fabric strength. Historically, performance features, such as wrinkle-free, soil-release, and repellent finish- es, wreaked havoc in 100 percent cotton yarns. Tear and tensile strength were compromised when these topical chemical treatments were ap- Formally executive vice president of Capital Mercu- ry Apparel for 18 years, David J. Bebon is CEO of DBEBZ Apparel, a manufacturer of woven and knit sport shirts. He resides in Connecticut with his wife, Zoe, and four children. Bebon is a frequent speaker and presenter at industry trade shows and contrib- uting writer for several trade publications.

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