After returning from three trade shows and working directly with customers and new people to the KUIU brand it is clear to me I have not done a good enough job educating our customer base on fabrics and why KUIU is so different than every other Outdoor and Hunting apparel product line.
To help, I will do a series of posts covering KUIU suppliers and why I have chosen them.
I encourage you to ask me questions and encourage you to ask the same questions to other brands you may be considering when shopping for gear. This is an age of the consumer. You have the right to know what you are buying. Please ask.
FABRIC – A Massive Difference
Price points have driven performance and quality out of today’s Outdoor technical fabrics. “Big Box” retailers do not have the gear experts to explain to their customers why one brand’s fabric performs better than another.
Branded fabrics such as Toray, Schoeller, Cordura, and Polartec ensure quality backed by years of research and development, strict raw material standards, skilled labor, the highest quality equipment and extensive testing and supportive data.
At Big Box stores, the retail price is what ends up selling the product. Especially when racks of clothes all look the same, and no one explains the differences. Once dominate in technical performance apparel, over the past decade fabrics from Polartec, Toray, Schoeller, and Cordura are being replaced by non-branded low cost fabrics.
Non-Branded or “Sourced” knockoff fabrics are made in low cost mills in Taiwan, China and India to save manufactures as much as 75% in compairison to a “similar” fabric from Polartec, Schoeller, Cordura or Toray.
Attack Pant Fabric: $14.00 per yard from Toray.
Attack Pant Fabric: $4.00 per yard from a Taiwan sourced mill.
Guide Soft Shell Fabric: $15.00 per yard from Toray
Guide Soft Shell Fabric: $5.00 per yard form Taiwan sourced mill.
Because they are made to be inexpensive, sourced fabrics do not have fabric engineers with expertise in research and development, nor the skilled labor or equipment as large branded fabric programs. Everything these mills do is focused on reducing costs, there is little if any testing, no warranty and you do not know what you are getting other than a LOT OF ELASTIC and a low price.
Sourced fabrics are the reason so many of you are biased against Asian made apparel. I get it. Cheap fabrics do not perform, feel or wear the same or have the comfort and durability as more expensive branded fabrics and have created this stigma.
I HAVE EXTENSIVELY TESTED, WORN AND BOUGHT SOURCED FABRICS (BEFORE KUIU) AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, DURABILITY AND COMFORT OF BRANDED FABRICS FROM SCHOELLER, POLARTEC, CORDURA AND TORAY.
Manufactures know this and make up fake names for their fabrics so they appear as branded fabrics. This is very common. Google these names and see who makes these so called “branded” fabrics. Ask who makes these fabrics. If they tell you they are the same as branded fabrics they are flat out lying to you.
Another trick for cheap fabrics is to add coatings, additives, or treatments to help with pilling and drying times. These are not solutions to sourced fabrics. These are band-aids for cheap fabric and will wear out over time.
When you are shopping for a new garment look at who makes the fabric so you are not paying $150 for a pair of pants using a $4.00 per yard fabric. You are paying too much for too little.
I hope this information helps you be a smarter consumer. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding our fabrics I would love to answer them.