A new line of active apparel fabrics made from renewable resource-based fibres derived from crops like corn will be launched early next year.

The PLA fibre has been developed by experts at Minneapolis-based Cargill Dow, a JV formed five years ago between Cargill Inc and Dow Chemical Co, through a hi-tech process using plant sugars.

Cargill Dow has now agreed a deal with Hong Kong-based clothing firm Fountain Set to develop the new performance fabrics that will be launched into the activewear market in the first quarter of 2003.

"Fountain Set is dedicated to furthering the development of sustainable products," said CF Ha, chairman and managing director of Fountain Set.

"With PLA fibers we will be able to offer the industry a line of fabrics that are more sustainable and offer the performance expected in apparel."