Cold Comfort

Fashion » Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort
A Zegna runway look.

Cold Comfort

If genius is inspiration plus perspiration, the new crop of sweat-fighting fabrics is fashion’s answer to Einstein. Two British entrepreneurs, Oliver Van Emden and Bradley Rose, spent nearly nine years developing what they call SmartWeave, an added treatment to cotton that banishes sweat spots by wicking away moisture from armpits and dispersing it over larger areas, thereby allowing it to evaporate more quickly. The textile washes and irons like regular cotton, and was launched last summer in the form of FreshMax shirts for men; the company now plans to expand to women’s wear and license its technology to other lines.

One potential partner: Zegna. The fashion house already offers a Cool Effect finish on several pieces from its collection. The treatment enables wool to reflect a significantly higher percentage of the sun’s rays.

Those in search of a serious chill can layer these air-conditioned suits over Jockey’s new Staycool undergarments, made from a material developed for NASA that absorbs, stores, and releases heat, making skin feel up to three degrees cooler. For women there’s the Amoena Mia line of bras, which incorporate the new Comfort Plus technology to soak up excess body heat. Other brands, meanwhile, are focusing on the nose. Hart Schaffner Marx, an Obama favorite, has co-opted the antibacterial and odor-tamping silver nano fabric long used in sports gear for a range of suits. And Manuela Dack, a British designer who launched her collection last summer, makes clothes designed to react to body heat, slowly releasing embedded oil-based fragrances as they warm up.

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