The Swedish Government is funding research at The Sports Tech Research Centre at Mid Sweden University to measure the durability of waterproof and breathable jackets. It aims to establish a robust evaluation methodology and ultimately a widely used and easily accessible industry standard for product durability by thoroughly testing and assessing why functional jackets fail during real-life leisure and work use. The findings aim to extend the lifetime of garments.
This multi-stakeholder project now needs pre-competitive industry-wide collaboration with the supply of end-of-life outdoor waterproof jackets across the consumer and technical PPE markets in order to review product function and performance.
Garment durability is key to a sustainable clothing industry and a functioning circular textile economy. In short, on a global level we need to produce better products with longevity and thereby significantly reduce the need to purchase or procure more. Extending product life is the single most effective route to reduce the climate impact of the textile industry. The more durable the product, the longer it can be used, rented out, sold second hand or repaired.
To help improve environmental footprint calculations of outdoor jackets it is important to analyse the length of time a jacket is in service, and understand what determines its end-of-life. The project team at Mid Sweden University aims to do this by reviewing and verifying typical common causes for failures or weaknesses within the waterproof and breathable jacket category.
Professor Mikael Bäckström from Sports Tech Research Centre explains: “We need to carry out testing on used waterproof and breathable jackets from a broad range of technologies, across multiple brands, different types of membranes and DWR technology. This will enable us to fully represent the market and to ensure relevance across the entire outdoor category. In addition to lab testing, we will conduct interviews with procurers, consumers and professional end users. Our aim is to establish a durability lab test protocol based on weaknesses found in end-of-use jackets and then compare these to new garments. The protocol will contain minimum thresholds and establish performance levels to scientifically differentiate the durability of waterproof and breathable jackets.”
The results from the testing of specific brands and technologies will be anonymised. However, the end goal of this project is to feedback to the textile industry. This will assist and support the circular economy through the reduced consumption and production of textiles via the increased use of sustainable and durable textiles and garment manufacture.
To learn more, please feel free to register for one of the informative web-meetings on May 17th 10:00 CET or June 8th 10:00 CET on miun.se/durabilityproject or contact Judith from the research team directly with any questions about getting involved with this project: Judith.Waller@miun.se.
Please send waterproof and breathable end-of-life jackets to:
Dr. Judith Waller, Department of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Education, Mid Sweden University, SE-831 25 Östersund, Sweden.
Shipping costs can be arranged if your organization is unable to pay them.