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[Weekender] Beat the heat with cool apparel

From activewear to formal suits, fashion brands compete with cooling fabrics, technologies

June 14, 2019 - 10:24 By Choi Ji-won
In the world of menswear, mesh, seersucker and linen have long been traditional summer fabrics. But the latest trends show innovative, new cooling fabrics and technologies at the forefront of men’s fashion, from performance wear all the way to formal business attire.

With the summer heat swooshing in earlier than expected, outdoor brand K2 is seeing an early pickup in sales of its Ossak line of cool apparel, the company said.

“Sales of cooling shirts have increased since May, and our cooling pants have already seen a 40 percent hike in sales compared to last year,” a spokesperson for the outdoor brand said via email.

The collection provides performance activewear made from a combination of fine-gauge material that feels cool and “phase change material” textiles that absorb heat. The series is an advanced version of the company’s Cool360 series from last year.

According to the head of apparel merchandising of K2, Lee Yang-yeob, the Ossak T-shirt has strengthened its cooling effect especially in the back, the part of the body that sweats most in hot, humid weather. 

Eider’s Ice Polo Shirt Ledon (Eider)

Eider’s Ice Air Denim pants Jannings Air (Eider)

Another outdoor brand, Eider has expanded its Ice-T collection, first launched in 2014, to include polo shirts and denim jeans.

According to the company, the Virtual Ice Cube, printed on the inside of the clothes, will dissolve when the temperature rises to a certain point, releasing instant coolness as the dissolved particles come in contact with sweat.

By applying its performance-level cooling technology in casualwear, the brand aims to move beyond its outdoor image and target a wider group of customers.

Not to be outdone, players in casual, business and formal attire are coming up with their own cool clothes.

Hazzys Men, a business and semicasual brand run by LG Fashion, offers the Easy Cooler collection made of pure cotton. The company twisted the thread extra tightly in order to minimize the fabric’s contact with the skin, thereby cooling the wearer’s body temperature. The Easy Cooler shirts are among the five best-selling items, with its sales about 20 percent stronger than the average for all products, an LG Fashion spokesperson said.

Maestro, another LG Fashion brand, takes a step further introducing cool knitwear.

“With the application of (LG Fashion’s) self-developed Coolever textile that maximizes absorption of heat and the release of sweat, Cool-touch Knits will break the rule limiting knits to winter,” the spokesperson explained.

Maestro also introduced “ice cotton pants” made of a unique cooling textile that feels cool on the skin and does not wrinkle easily.

Brentwood’s Ice Suit (Kolon Industries FnC)

Kolon Industries’ menswear brand Brentwood unveiled its first Ice Suit collection, following the success of machine-washable suits last summer.

Among the two types of suits released as part of the collection, the Icis Suit claims to drop the wearer’s body temperature by almost 2 degrees Celsius, as it is made to block heat from outside and absorb that radiating from the wearer’s body. The Coolmax Suit also prevents discomfort from dampness by strengthening the breathability and agility of the textiles.

Applying Kolon’s cooling technology, business-casual brand Project M also introduced last month Coolon T-shirts as part of its Coolaim summer collection.

By Choi Ji-won (