I mentioned in my previous post that there were two consistent elements that caught my attention, across several brands, at the PGA fashion show last month in Las Vegas. The first was great-looking and unique belts. The second was a high focus on fabric. This may seem obvious for an athletic apparel showcase. However, the debate and buzz around new and innovative performance fabric versus cotton and other natural fibers was unavoidable.
One of the panels during the day featured Lulu Faddis, Creative Director of Chase 54, Robert Brunner, Creative Director of Devereux and Ralph Dunning, founder of Dunning Golf. The three discussed fabric trends, and whether or not cotton would make a predominant comeback into golf apparel. Their thoughts and use of fabric are summarized below.
Faddis had one statement to the cotton optimist: “We found that cotton was a hard sell.” She does not believe there is a place for cotton to make its way back into the golf apparel market. Frankly, with the technical fabric used by Chase 54, there doesn’t seem to be room for cotton to slide in anyway. Chase 54’s listed fabric technologies include: Dry-Fuse, (super fast moisture wicking fabric), Coffee Yarn (eco-friendly sustainable fabric derived from 36% recycled coffee grounds and 64% polyester) and Sorona/FlyCool (renewable polymer sourced from corn, that wicks quickly and is highly stain resistant.)
The Devereux line is primarily comprised of a pima cotton/polyester blend (60/30ish). These guys believe in cotton and trust me, when you feel their fabric you will too. They also offer a sweater made of baby alpaca and pima cotton, that is oh so wonderful.
Quite the opposite of Faddis, Ralph Dunning was adamant that cotton will “make a big comeback into golf soon” because our “body naturally starts to crave fabric with cotton in it.” I have a lot of cravings, such as chocolate ice cream, Mexican food, etc. However, I had no clue I crave cotton on my body.
Dunning offers a polyester Pique fabric that is super light for hot conditions and additional airflow. Ralph Dunning states that one “could run an Ironman in this fabric with its level of technology.” Dunning’s focus is to make a fabric that drapes well, performs and fits properly. They also offer a poly/spandex stretch jersey that is a bit heavier and hides chest hair and imperfections better than the pique. Dunning also continued to stress his known belief that merino is the best fabric possible for base layers.
I also heard Mike McRae, founder of QED Style, supporting the thought that cotton would indeed make a comeback onto the golf apparel scene soon. Whereas, when Director of Merchandising for Puma Golf, Jennifer Rust, walked me through the new Puma line, it was evident that technical performance fabric will be a mainstay for this golf apparel giant. Puma also incorporates S’café fiber into their collection. S’café is the technical composite fiber made with post-consumer coffee grounds, which Faddis mentioned is also utilized by Chase 54 in their manufacturing. This fabric utilizes the natural ability of coffee grounds to absorb odor, provide UV protection and wick moisture. Who knew?! (Willy Mac looks like he knew…)