Seamless Action in Motion: How MEC Enhances Performance Wear
Exploring solutions for knit athleisure and activewear that performs with you, not just on you
The popularity of seamless knitted products across the textile industry is increasing as consumers heighten their consciousness on the purpose of their clothing, as well as its longevity in relation to sustainability. Specifically focusing on athleisure and activewear, the feel and performance standards of these have notably risen for end consumers. People wonder: how will this clothing improve my experience? Can I have a balance between comfort and support while in motion? This piece looks pretty but does it adjust to my body like I want it to?
At MEC we believe that we already have enough aesthetic-driven products in the world. Subsequently, we urge for materials and products that create positive activism, that reach our sensational needs, and that combine a blend of the following aspects: function, form, sustainability, innovation and mobility. Here, we’ll dive into how athleisure and activewear created via circular technology can be evolved into garments that end-users not only wear for an active lifestyle setting but garments that perform with them — fundamentally enhancing their all around experience.
Let’s begin by laying out what circular technology is. ‘The term circular [knitting] covers all knitting machines whose needle beds are arranged in circular cylinders and can knit a wide range of fabric structures, garments, hosiery, and other articles in a variety of diameters’ (Spencer 2001). This technology has advanced over the years, allowing designers to create sleek bodywear and performance activewear, ‘ready-to-wear three-dimensional (3D) tubular garments directly created from yarns without any seams’ (Ten Bhömer). Overall, second-skin feeling clothing that is constructed with 3D structural softness, customized to fit your body, and support where necessary.
Within the MEC creative hub, we use Santoni circular technology that can fabricate this type of activewear and athleisure garments. Like this, we ensure that the wearer not only feels comfortable but that they also feel like they’re reaping the benefits of their activity whilst in motion.
Advantages stemming from circular technology in combination with yarn pre-selection and body mapping can result but are not limited to: a lightweight feel, ventilation within the fabric, moisture management, and engineered support in the necessary areas. These mentioned performance features tend to be the most sought out for when it comes to athleisure and activewear as people need to adapt to the weather and temperature, body shapes vary, and they perspire; to name a few reasons.
Depending on the activity or sport, whether you are indoor or outdoors, partaking in leisurely recreation or as an established athlete — at MEC we help you discover the right material for your needs. To say the least, ‘knitted constructions provide remarkable diversity and a range of potential end products’ (Black 2002). With an experienced team of designers, technical engineers and fiber experts; tailored textiles aren’t so far out on the horizon anymore. For specific examples on these, you can explore some of MEC’s game-changing Projects.
Through premeditated activewear production — deciding desired performance features, yarn selection, and circular technology engineering — we have some control over material waste and an opportunity to discover new materials through fiber combinations. Not to forget, activewear apparel that lasts.
An example of an MEC project is the Seamless Cycling collection initiated by The Woolmark Company and created by Studio Eva x Carola using Santoni tech. Within this partnership, layers and accessories for female cyclers were designed and produced. The structure combination for these garments were mostly made up of natural Merino Wool yarn — a natural fiber known for its stretchiness and thermal regulating features. Through body-mapping we were able to enhance the functional needs for cyclers that cover: repetitive movement, high range of motion, and focused support. Due to its 3D structure, these pieces shape comfortably to the body and stretch as needed for the cycler. Additional details were created such as grip construction on the inside of the waistband to prevent the seam and sleeves to curl up during the cycle tour. Overall, establishing a collection that moves with the active woman, hosts thermal regulating aspects, breathes for comfort, and compresses in the right parts of the body.
As the textile industry evolves for the better, we can agree that circular knit technology is the path to take when contemplating athleisure and activewear production. Not only will this apparel be seamless and engineered in one go, it will look good and last the end consumer as it provides the solution for the specific activity they are doing. After all, engineering products that enhance the way people move and transform themselves every day is one of our top aims for the future of the textile industry.
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