Spandex provides significant strength and elasticity and is fast drying.
Spandex, also known as elastane or Lycra®, is an elastic polymer (a type of plastic) first invented by DuPont in 1958. Spandex makes garments and trims stretchy, which allows for them to be form fitting, and provide freedom of movement.
Spandex is a critical ingredient in our products. We have recently experimented with pre-consumer recycled versions (using scraps from spandex that has already been made) in our garments, but it will likely be one of our last materials to be completely converted to a non-virgin source. Although critical to the performance of our final products, spandex is a material we use the least when compared to all our other materials; think of a jacket with stretch—the spandex may be 8% or 9% of the total fabric package. Instead, we’re focusing on making big moves to convert heavily used fabrics (like cotton, nylon and polyester) to recycled, first.
We are actively looking for spandex alternatives that help provide function and are recyclable. We’re investigating non-virgin petroleum sources for spandex (also known as elastane), including recycled and biobased versions. Our fabric lab is also testing new polymers that cause less environmental harm.