ISPO 2019 sees The North Face unveil FUTURELIGHT™, a new breathable waterproof material set to revolutionize the future of technical fabrics. Developed using innovative Nanospinning technology and sustainable practices, it is the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear material available.
“Right now, the expectation from a waterproof product is something loud, crunchy, muggy and unpackable. With FUTURELIGHT™ we can theoretically use the technology to make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time, comfortable,” Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face Scott Mellin said. “Imagine a waterproof t-shirt, sweater or even denim that you actually want to wear. Today we start with jackets, tents and gloves, but the possibilities could be endless.”
With FUTURELIGHT™ technology, The North Face is also setting a new standard in sustainability through new practices in the fabric creation process. These advances have allowed the brand to responsibly create three-layer garments through use of recycled fabrics and production that cuts chemical consumption, all while being produced in a cleaner, solar-powered factory.
The Nanospinning process used to create FUTURELIGHT™ fabric, has allowed the brand’s designers to add unprecedented air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates Nano-level holes, allowing for incredible porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.
Additionally, Nanospinning gives designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction (knit or woven), and texture to match athletes’ and consumers’ activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage, for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates. The ability to adjust these factors in fabric construction is unprecedented in apparel, equipment and accessories.
“Disruption is one of the key elements in the DNA of The North Face brand. It is what our company was founded on and, to this day, we still believe that disruption is the key to future growth,” Mellin said. “Our teams are constantly thinking about the future of our product technology portfolio and how we can push the limits to create the next best innovation for our athletes and consumers, which is how FUTURELIGHT™ came to life and why it will forever change what consumers expect from their product.
FUTURELIGHT™ fabric was born in the mountains, inspired by The North Face global team of athletes looking for increased performance and breathability in their waterproof gear. The material has since been tested extensively by the brand’s global athlete team and is expedition proven through use in the highest peaks and harshest environments, including the Himalayas’ Lhotse and Everest.
While testing FUTURELIGHT™ fabric The North Face team alpinist, Jim Morrison climbed, and skied three 8000 Meter peaks 2018, including Everest, Cho Oyu and the world’s first descent of Lhotse Couilor with his partner Hilaree Nelson.
“During the past two years, our world class team of climbers, skiers, alpinists, snowboarders and trail runners has been rigorously testing FUTURELIGHT across every discipline to prove this technology in varying weather conditions and climates all over the world,” Nelson, The North Face athlete team captain, said. “In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as FUTURELIGHT. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.”
Beyond The North Face athletes internal testing labs, the brand worked with third-party independent experts including UL (Underwriters Laboratories) a world-renowned safety certification testing organization, to push the limit of the FUTURELIGHT™ fabric. UL predominately tests waterproofing for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an organization that certifies first responder gear for firefighters, EMS and hazmat responders. The test methods developed were 50 percent more stringent than the current standard for the Outdoor Industry.
“The liquid integrity test for FUTURELIGHT™ is even more extreme compared to the NFPA testing that UL conducts, proving FUTURELIGHT™ is not only totally waterproof, but also fit for the harshest expeditions the outdoors has to offer,” Michael Seward of Underwriters Laboratories said.
A 2019 ISPO Award winner, the FUTURELIGHT™ technology will begin life in The North Face’s F19 Pinnacle collections; Steep Series, Summit Series and Flight Series. Key products for each collection on show include:
The North Face FUTURELIGHT™ Steep Series Brigandine Jacket & Pant
The ultimate mission kit for the big-mountain freerider, with every feature thought out to the minutest detail. A key component is the highly advanced ergonomic fit to support active movement whilst riding or hiking & climbing, that has been perfected from decades of athlete feedback. The addition of FUTURELIGHT will make these the most breathable and tuned snowsports sihouttes ever created.
The North Face FUTURELIGHT™ Summit Series L5 Jacket & Pant
The world’s pinnacle mountaineering range, with a system of products to offer a solution to any mountain guide or athlete. The Mountain Systems offer kit-building solutions for any range, route, condition or altitude and for any discipline, from expeditions to alpinism, split into 3 categories: Alpinism, Expedition Climbing; and the newly crafted Ski Mountaineering. FUTURELIGHT will enter the range into the L5 Jacket and pant.
The North Face FUTURELIGHT™ Flight Series Jacket
An adventure runner’s go-to collection, the Flight Series line was designed to help runners go longer, faster and stronger whilst out exploring the mountains. The award-winning, Flight Series Jacket will feature FUTURELIGHT, resulting in a new level of breathability for runners wanting to stay protected whilst out in the elements.