/ Same fabric, different manufacturer

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jwa - on 31 Oct 2012
I received a fleece for my birthday recently that is made using Polartec fabric but is not from one of the usual outdoor brands. I'm not being snobby cos I like the fleece but I was just wondering if you were to have two items of clothing that are made using the exact same material would their performance be the same? Or does the brand's design play a major part in determining performance?
GrahamD - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa:

Depends entirely on the item and the brand. Non recognised brands can be just as good as their branded counterparts (eg I bet most people in the UK won't recognise any of the brands being worn by German or Italian or Spanish alpinists - but they clearly work!)
remus - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa: Of course not, if you cant lift your arms above your head because the fit of the jacket is poor then it's not much good for anything practical.

That's just one example, there are lots of other things that affect the quality of a jacket, such as pocket placement, zips, hoods, cuffs etc. All these little details need to be thoroughly considered to produce a decent piece of clothing.
jwa - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to remus:
Forget about fit and details, although of course fit plays some part in performance, but can you expect an unbranded jacket or fleece using certain technical fabrics to perform as well as a branded item in terms of keeping you warm and dry or whatever the fabric is designed for?
iksander on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa:
> (In reply to remus)
> Forget about fit and details, although of course fit plays some part in performance, but can you expect an unbranded jacket or fleece using certain technical fabrics to perform as well as a branded item in terms of keeping you warm and dry or whatever the fabric is designed for?

Yes, why not? But be aware that a single brand of technical fabric can mean a whole range different fabric weights, composition and finishes in reality. "Gore Tex" is the classic example, but also applies to Malden etc fabrics too.

GrahamD - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa:

I thought it was branded but just not a brand you recognised ?
captain paranoia - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to remus:

> Of course not, if you cant lift your arms above your head because the fit of the jacket is poor then it's not much good for anything practical.

Exactly so. The thing that 'proper outdoors brands' bring to the table is their outdoor-specific design. They understand things like the need for arm raise, and trouser gussets for ease of movement, and jacket pockets that are clear of rucksack straps and harnesses, and don't let things fall out. etc, etc.

Arm raise is one design aspect that companies like Regatta and Trespass don't understand; their pattern blocks all seem to be based on conventional tailoring, so the arm raise is generally poor, with huge cuff pull, and underarm tension.
In reply to jwa:
> Or does the brand's design play a major part in determining performance?

Design and just fit can be very important for making products made of the same material work completely differently.

captain paranoia - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa:

> Forget about fit and details

If the fabric is identical between two items, then the fabric will behave identically. The difficulty comes in determining whether two fabrics are actually identical; as mentioned above, there are many, many variants of the big name brand fabrics; Polartec PowerDry, for instance, may appear to be one fabric, but it's actually a whole range of fabrics of different weight, densities, surface finishes, inner face structures, etc. Ditto ThermalPro, some of which is the fluffy 'bearskin' stuff, some of which has a dense, cropped face. Polartec have detailed fabric products codes, but they're a bit arcane; the only company I know that quote the specific fabric spec for garments is Marmot.

You mentioned 'keeping dry'. It's interesting to note that Gore insist they test all items made from Gore-tex, to ensure the design is adequate (and they have design rules they give to manufacturers). This is a good indication that design is just as important as fabric when it comes to garment performance.
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nniff - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to jwa:

One of my better fleeces cost 6 from Primark years ago. It's just as good as all the branded stuff and I couldn't tell you if the fabric is Polartec or not - it looks and feels like it, but I'd not be surprised if Polartec said 'our label will not appear in anything sold in Primark'.

As it's the dog walking one now, it gets worn every day, unlike the others.

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