BEAVERTON – Sportswear giant Nike has discovered a new weapon in its drive to develop more sustainable fleece garments – needlepunched nonwovens.
Nike Forward – the result of over five years of research – is being hailed as the brand’s most significant apparel innovation since Dri-Fit thirty years ago, by moving away from traditional knit and woven processes and simplifying the process of material fabrication by reducing steps. Rather than follow a multi-stage creation cycle – spin yarn, knit, cut, sew and more – Nike Forward turns fibre directly to textiles through needlepunching, the company explains.
Nike Forward material also has a lighter density than traditional knit fleece, which is crucial to reaching 75% carbon reduction, and the finished product is comprised of 70% recycled content by weight.
“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about material and apparel,” said Aaron Heiser, Nike’s VP of global apparel product merchandising. “It has huge potential to transform the industry in the way that Air and Flyknit did for Nike footwear.”
“Nike Forward feels different because it is different,” added says Carmen Zolman, Nike’s VP of innovation apparel design. “It is not a traditional knit or woven, but a completely new material that drastically reduces its carbon footprint.”
Nike Forward debuts with a well established silhouette – the grey hoodie. In keeping with its sustainable aims, the hoodie forgoes embellishments and dyes, favouring raw cut pockets and zero water usage.
The platform is also purpose-built and created for future circularity – the first iteration of Nike Forward garments are made without zippers, aglets or extra trims, making it easier for the garments to be recycled.
Nike Forward can be made with a diverse range of layers, including industrial and post-consumer waste, and can be precisely tuned for athlete needs.
The new brand debuts in hoodie and crew styles globally on September 15th, 2022.