Frog Skin Nanotechnology comes to a Close
Words by Founder, Tim Christian
When I began developing fabric for the first ever OORR garments, back in 2012, my primary goal was to create something premium that was made with recycled materials. During that process, by chance, I stumbled upon Frog Skin Nanotechnology, did my research, and made the decision to use it in the OORRiginal men’s jerseys and arm warmers. So effective was this technology, that it was an easy decision to use it again in future garments – but it wasn’t without it’s challenges.
The OORRiginal fabric was produced in a mill based in New Zealand. This meant that the yarn, and the chemical that holds this Frog Skin Nanotechnology (let’s say FSN, for short) had to be imported to NZ from the USA, and the fabric made there - then imported to China, the garments made, then imported to Sydney. As you see, less than ideal from both a cost and environmental perspective.
So, I started a search and screen process to find a fabric mill with the right credentials and capability within the USA, reducing complexity – and found a very helpful fabric partner based in North Carolina – the same state the FSN was produced. We then made and tested a significant amount of fabric and garments with very good results. This gave me confidence in the product, and I finalised that part of the supply line – ready to pull the trigger on bulk production following a successful kickstarter. So far, so good.
However, only weeks after the Kickstarter was successfully funded, one of the OORR primary test athletes came to me with concerns about the way her bibshorts had worn, and also with news that her boyfriend mentioned they were a little see-through. Clearly these issues had to be addressed before production.
Taking this information to our fabric partner, I proposed a number of strategies to try and address the issues, and get us back into a position where we were only producing the highest quality products. Unfortunately, the American mill were not interested in attempting to rectify the shortcomings of the fabric, so I chose to walk away.
This left me back at square one; searching for an eco-friendly, high quality mill capable and willing to help. Such is the scarcity of demand for recycled fabric, I was unable to find another suitable mill within the United States that was willing to consider using recycled yarn. Whilst this was not only frustrating, it was also a little disheartening, though my hope is that the opposite will be true in the near future, as consumers become more aware of the impact of their fashion choices, and production of garments using recycled materials becomes closer to the norm, rather than the exception.
The next natural place to search was in China, with a goal to further centralise all manufacturing and production. Thankfully I found a very capable fabric mill, with environmental certification, to produce us some OORRsome fabric using recycled yarn.
But then - much to my disappointment, and after a fair amount of effort, it has become obvious that incorporating FSN with this new fabric is just a bridge too far. There are multiple barriers to making this happen, with Chinese chemical Import Law being not the least of them.
Accepting the loss of the FSN at this stage was the hard part, but fortunately finding an ecologically and technologically sound alternative was easier. Moving forwards, we are going to be incorporating a silver ion technology in place of FSN; our mill has experience in using this treatment on performance-fabric, the technology is environmentally sound and certified by Bluesign, and the anti-microbial odour-resistant properties? Equivalent to the best on offer from other brands.
Whilst an undeniable setback, I’ve kept my sights set firmly on the main goal – to produce garments of the highest quality using recycled materials – and proving that high performance and quality doesn’t have to cost the earth.
If you have any questions about this decision making process, or want to know more about Silver Ion Technology, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org