The Innovation Imperative

August 2020

The pressure is on to create the garments of tomorrow today.

As the market becomes increasingly crowded, investment in R&D is essential to drive new and exciting products. Cutting edge fabrics and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques are the key to creating tomorrow’s products today. The next-generation of techwear, activewear and outdoor apparel are revolutionising the industry by occupying the sweet spot between sport, science and technology.

To create the most technically-experimental apparel, many innovators suggest it’s essential to think outside of the box. Real innovation is about disruptive thinking. When discussing collaborating with cutting-edge apparel leaders at the LTP innovation lab, CCO Alex Ingildsen states.

“Brands force us to rethink preconceived ideas, to be better, to do something new, something different. So together we are at the forefront of Innovation.”

Ingildsen and LTP Design Manager Chantell Fenton discuss manufacturing techniques that will drive new season developments.

The Future is Stitch-free

For centuries, sewing and stitching was the most effective construction method. Over the last decade glued taped and bonded seams have revolutionised the design and construction process. Innovative brands like Isaora and Satisfy Running incorporate the construction technique to create lightest in-class garments without compromising on seam strength. Ideal for performance wear as the seams are rub resistant for a no-chafe finish and enhanced close-to-skin comfort. This technique can be applied to seams, hems and pockets for both functional & decorative effects.

Another option is ultrasonic seam technology which joins synthetic materials by using ultrasonic frequencies to generate heat within the fibres which causes the polymers to fuse. This technique can be used to join seams, quilts and other finishes. The possibilities are endless.

For outdoor and extreme-weather apparel seam-sealed finishes are a game-changer. Seamseal methods offer superior protection against the elements. Seam-sealing essentially provides a weather-proof barrier, where-as conventional stitching results in tiny puncture holes [created by the needle] which allow water to seep through. Widely considered the strongest seam construction method for waterproof apparel, used by top outdoor brands including Arc'teryx, Peak Performance and Thrudark.

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Glued seams crafted at LTP, image source

Achieve Technical Precision with Laser cutting

Use laser cut rather than hemmed edges to reduce friction and bulk. Thanks to continuous research and development, today’s state-of-the-art laser equipment is faster and more accurate than ever before.

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Black Yak, image source

Alternatively use laser cutting to create strategically mapped ventilation which enhances the bodies natural cooling system. Aim to vary the size and density of the laser cut micro-holes depended on the level of ventilation required.

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Isaora, image source

Insulation Innovation is Accelerating

Driven by function and sustainability, insulation and quilting techniques are reimagined to drive new and exciting product developments. From natural to synthetic fibre options, the latest innovations are not only better for the planet but also provide superior warmth and thermoregulation properties. The construction method traps warm air inside the jacket to thermoregulate the wearer and provide additional protection against the elements.

The most innovative brands are using quilting techniques to create hybridised styles that offer targeted and variant levels of insulation.

Thanks to advancements in environmentally friendly solutions, recycled, biodegradable and 100% traceable down options are now available, including Re:Down’s innovative regenerated down and feathers created from post-consumer waste.

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Under Armour, image source

What’s next?

Creative agency Portas recently declared

“Average is Over”

Now is the time to push the boundaries, think the unthinkable. Aim to create the most technically-experimental apparel ever commercialised. LTP Business Devevelopment Manager, Jurgita Sirvydaite states

“At LTP the most inspiring projects are those that combine and blend state-of-the-art techniques”

Look to fuse innovations and cutting-edge techniques to deliver on consumers’ wants and needs in surprising, new ways.

About Chantell Fenton

New design manager at LTP, Chantell is an experienced performance sportswear designer and trend forecaster, with a passion for wellness, technology and function-first design. Chantell has an in-depth knowledge of how to spot and translate the must-have trends and macro shifts for the sports and outdoor industry. For more details visit