Malden Mills Fleece
Twenty years ago, Malden Mills, a textile mill in Lawrence Mass., swept the synthetic market with the introduction of fleece fabrics. Spurred by the demands of baby boomers discovering the outdoors and by a community of outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, there was a market ripe for clothing that was warmer, easier to care for, looked good, and was less allergic than wool.
Using its knowledge of fabrics, yarns, and yarn finishes, Malden Mills produced its first fleece fabric in the 1970's. It was called Polarfleece, a name still widely used as a generic term for all outdoor polyester fleeces. The fabric was revolutionary. It wicked moisture away from the body, it was warm and dried quickly. But its long-term disadvantage was an unattractive pilling on the surface after only a few uses.
Patagonia, a clothes manufacturer in Ventura, Calif., was an important company to ride the wave of this new era of high-tech fabrics. Owned by Yvon Chouinard - a climber, craftsman and entrepreneur - Patagonia was developing sportswear for a strong contingency of outdoor sportspeople. The company field-tested garments made from new fabrics under the most extreme conditions before endorsing a fabric for its customers.
At Patagonia's request, Malden Mills developed Synchilla, a double-face fabric that had a non-pill texture. The development of Synchilla set off an avalanche of sales during the 1980's, when the company's sales almost doubled from one year to the next over a period of two to three years. Patagonia retained an exclusive on the product until 1987; since then Malden Mills has marketed the fabric under the name Polartec.
Polartec, an improved version of Polarfleece, has a greater flexibility for range of motion, different weights for a variety of uses, and in general has a much nicer hand. Most importantly, it also has a pile surface that did not pill.
Today, fleece-type products still account for the majority of the Malden Mills company sales. Thanks to the Malden Mills" research and development team, Malden Mills has made hundreds of refinements and variations, continually improving the performance and quality of their fleece fabrics. Malden Mills fleece is now available in as many as 18 different types of construction, including recycled fibers, microfibers, and different staple-length fibers, with as many different uses. New generations of fleece fabrics include new and improved surface finishes, new yarns, and multi-chambered fibers that insulate more effectively.
Malden Mills" innovation has also helped create a host of technical non-fleece fabrics, making the Malden Mills line of fabrics recognized as the most technically advanced in the world.
Malden Mills Industries, Inc. has restricted the use of all Malden Mills' trademarks to those customers that have a trademark license agreement with Malden Mills. Therefore you may not use Malden Mills ® , Polarfleece ® , or Polartec ® on any advertising or finished goods without the special consent of Malden Mills.