Deliver To:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Amer.Virgin Is.
  • American Samoa
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica
  • Antigua Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
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  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
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  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire, Saba
  • Bosnia-Herz.
  • Botswana
  • Bouvet Island
  • Brazil
  • Brit.Ind.Oc.Ter
  • Brit.Virgin Is.
  • Brunei Daruss.
  • Bulgaria
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  • Burundi
  • C. African Rep.
  • Cambodia
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  • Dem. Rep. Congo
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  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islnds
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
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  • French Guiana
  • French S.Territ
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greater China (Chinese Mainland)
  • Greater China (Hong Kong SAR)
  • Greater China (Macau SAR)
  • Greater China (Taiwan)
  • Greece
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  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Heard McDon.Isl
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
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  • Iraq
  • Ireland
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  • Luxembourg
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  • Maldives
  • Mali
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  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Minor Outl.Isl.
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  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
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  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • N.Mariana Islnd
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  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
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  • Niue
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  • Norway
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  • Philippines
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  • Poland
  • Portugal
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  • Qatar
  • Reunion
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  • Russian Fed.
  • Rwanda
  • S. Sandwich Ins
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  • Saint Lucia
  • Samoa
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  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis,Futuna
  • West Sahara
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
Happy family jogging together in the morning sunrise
Apparel

Shaping the next generation of athletic apparel

Dow’s relentless pursuit of innovation is advancing design and durability of athletic apparel.

How are we shaping the next generation of athletic apparel?

A fast-growing market requires fast-moving innovation. Dow’s relentless pursuit of innovation is advancing design and durability of athletic apparel.

American football game with out of focus players in the background

Prints that last

Silicone printing inks can change the game, enabling screen printers and apparel manufacturers to produce durable, high-quality and wash-resistant prints on shirts, jerseys, shorts, leggings and beyond. Learn how Dow is advancing textile printing inks to enable safer textile screen printing formulations and keep apparel wearable for longer. 

Male worker preparing screen printing film and wearing a dirty apron while working in a workshop.

The challenge

Most athletic apparel is made from lightweight synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester, with spandex. Why? Because consumers want fit, comfort and long-lasting shape, and modern fabrics that are breathable and durable. However historically, if these garments contain screen printed elements – as many do – they don’t maintain their look and feel after extended wear and washing. The challenge? In short, the growth of these materials in apparel has intensified performance requirements for printing inks.

“Dow is committed to supporting apparel manufacturers in their next performance challenges and is dedicated to continued innovation for the textile industry.”
Isabelle Riff, Global Strategic Marketing Leader for Textiles & Leather, Dow
A red shirt or cloth with a flower printed on it. This image demonstrates how screen printing textile inks can stretch without cracking.

The breakthrough in athletic wear

Designing high performance sportswear doesn’t have to mean compromising on style or safety. Silicone printing inks can enable screen printers and apparel manufacturers to produce durable, high-quality and wash-resistant prints on shirts, jerseys, shorts and leggings made with a wide range of fabrics. With outstanding wash durability, elongation, and an soft touch, this breakthrough SILASTIC™ LCF 9600 M Textile Printing Ink Base means brands can make bold designs that stand the test of time. No more tacky-feel or "orange peel effect" on cotton substrates – just smooth, vibrant ink. 

Textile printing in a factory. Textile printing is the process of applying color to fabric in definite patterns or designs. In properly printed fabrics the color is bonded with the fiber, so as to resist washing and friction. / Dreamstime Image #23920899

The challenge

The reality is that many consumers likely only have two or three sets of workout clothes and if they work out multiple times a week, that’s a lot of wear and washing. The same goes for professional athletes. By using silicone ink, apparel owners can help slow down the cycle of fashion. Historically, PVC resins and plasticizer-based systems in inks have been used to achieve this durability. Today, skin-contact suitability and environmental impact are continuously looked at for improvement. Engineered for increased matte effect, Dow’s silicone ink base solution enables safer textile development with its ability to be formulated without PVC, phthalates, solvents, organo-tins or formaldehydes.

Dow scientists continue to research solutions to further advance safer sportswear. Silicone ink - innovation doesn’t rest a day.

Silk screen printing. Serigraphy. Color paints and fabric. Plastisol paint and squeegee.

Adding a hybrid emulsion silicone binder to the ink base enables a waterborne alternative to conventional textile printing inks for both synthetic and cotton fabrics. For manufacturers, that means controlled processing costs and greater versatility. For lovers of streetwear and sportswear alike, that means soft apparel with bright colors that don’t crack, fade or run. 

woman presenting webinar

Want to go a bit deeper

Explore the science behind the silicone that’s powering next-gen textile printing.

Raindrops falls off umbrella

Engineering improved performance

Creating water repellent fabrics that maintain their performance over time has been a focus for the textile industry for years. Dow teamed up with a world-leading formulator on behalf of a major outdoor brand, to tackle this challenge.

Washing machine with color clothes inside

The challenge

When consumers are exercising outdoors or enjoying a hike, there are some things they might like to avoid. Rain that soaks through their clothes is one of them. Creating water repellent fabrics that maintain their performance over time has been a focus for the textile industry for years. It’s not as easy as it sounds – and there are a lot of factors at play! For consumers that want clothing to perform outside and in more extreme conditions for a long time, durability is key.

Solutions exist but they nearly always have a distinctive technology gap – the “beading” effect doesn’t last after multiple washes, it requires heat to activate, or the material isn’t soft to the touch. 

Waterproof textile block water to pass through to stay dry.

The breakthrough

The first step was building the right innovation team – with experts from Research and Product Development and across industries beyond sport and outdoor gear. That’s because, sometimes, the building blocks for the perfect solution are discovered in a totally separate application. For the task of inventing a technology that was both water repellent and durable, Dow looked to the power of silicone.

Silicones are naturally hydrophobic, which makes them ideal for waterproofing applications across industries. The magic behind this patented technology enabled by silicone for textiles, however, was in Dow scientists fine-tuning it for strength, stability and softness. 

How? Dow tapped into its expertise in advanced testing capabilities. During the extensive Research & Development phase, a variety of popular performance textiles – from woven nylon/spandex to jersey to polyester – were treated with DOWSIL™ IE-8749 Emulsion and tested for wash-resistance, color retention, water repellency and feel.

The result? Fabric treated with Dow’s silicone innovation showed excellent water repellency when compared to untreated fabrics and maintained performance and color vibrancy up to 20 cycles.

woman hiker on the trail in the Islandic mountains. Trek in National Park Landmannalaugar, Iceland. woman walking in the rain with a backpack in a raincoat and wearing a waterproof jacket

This durability also means that consumers can love their performance apparel for longer. And there’s another bonus – no scratchy, uncomfortable fabric, just softness.

Another benefit of this technology for brands is in its adaptability. It is a concentrated solution, so it is easy to dilute and formulate with other ingredients for tailoring additional performance benefits.

In sport and apparel, the finish line is always inching forward, which means we cannot rest on past success. By designing this durable water repellent technology within a multi-generational product development program, apparel manufacturers can look forward to constant innovation as Dow scientists continue to iterate advancements, invent and patent novel technologies.

Technology in action

Fit woman exercising outdoors. Healthy young female athlete doing fitness workout.

Have an idea?

Game-changing products require game-changing teamwork. Collaborating with Dow on performance apparel isn’t just about connecting with materials science experts, it’s about forging a partnership that inspires, unlocks the magic of materials and designs a better, more sustainable future.