Cool pitch, hot tech from Design Weave

Brent Felgner, March 18, 2009

New York — In the high-capacity world of sheeting manufacturers, it’s always helpful to have an attribute — some come-to-market story — to help stand out from the crowd. For new manufacturer Design Weave, it’s Outlast temperature control technology woven right into the yarn.

“Not too hot. Not too cold,” goes the pitch. Design Weave signed on as an Outlast licensee in mid-2008 and came to market with sheeting manufactured to address the all-night roller coaster some people have with regulating their comfort under the covers.

Originally developed to help regulate spacesuit body temperatures for U.S. astronauts, Outlast uses a viscose fiber containing “thermocules,” explained Mike Pirkle, vp sales for Design Weave.

“Your body is always producing heat. So as soon as you get into bed, Outlast takes that heat away from your body and stores it in molecules. Then as your body starts to cool down, it releases it back. The normal sleeping curve is that you’re hot, then you’re cold. But with Outlast, it’s even all night long.”

Outlast has been used previously in mattress pads and pillows, but this is the first time it’s been woven into sheeting. Pirkle said the viscose fibers are woven into the cotton yarn, then woven into the sheets, which are otherwise 50/50 cotton polyester.

Pirkle came out of retirement to lead the company’s sales effort in the United States. He was formerly evp of sales for Downlite and began his career at Wamsutta.

Design Weave was founded in China in 2006. With a $40 million investment, the facility is 200,000 sq. ft. under roof, with 288 120-inch-wide looms, Pirkle said, producing about a million yards of fabric a week. Until now, the company has been mostly supplying wholesalers with fabric, mainly in China and Europe. Now the company has decided to sell direct in the States.

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