Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 364, January 2000

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American Companies in Japan


TEXTILES AND APPAREL

The company that commercialized the thermal-regulating technology behind the space gloves developed for NASA is moving into the Japanese market. OUTLAST TECHNOLOGIES, INC. gave ITOCHU CORP. exclusive rights to import and distribute its OUTLAST fiber, fabric and foam for hats, jackets, gloves and the like. Products made from the Boulder, Colorado company's textiles use microcapsules filled with phase-change materials to store the warmth created by the wearer. This warmth is released back to the person when he or she needs it. Conventional thermal garments rely on trapped air for warmth, but it can be lost when the wearer becomes too hot and opens a vent. Itochu expects sales of OUTLAST materials to total $1.9 million in the first year of availability.

The first clothing items using fabrics made with CORTERRA fibers have arrived in stores in Japan. ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. developed the women's long-sleeve crewneck and button-down blouses. The big textile manufacturer produced the fabrics from CORTERRA fibers it turned out using production technology licensed from SHELL CHEMICAL CO. CORTERRA fibers, the Houston company says, are well-suited for fabrics used to make such clothing as casualwear, swimwear, activewear and innerwear since they combine a soft, silky texture and drape with excellent stretch and recovery properties. CORTERRA is the trade name for the polytrimethylene terephthalate polymer.

From the end of January 2000, EDDIE BAUER INC.'s subsidiary will market a new brand of casual clothing for men in their 20s. The EB Sports line includes T-shirts for $28 and sweat pants at $57 a pair.

An exchange rate of ¥103=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaa

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