Software firm Freeborders Inc on Tuesday said the Online Fabric Library it manages for DuPont Textile & Interiors (DTI) had seen its usage surge almost 1,000 per cent year-over-year driven by the SARS crisis in Asia.

The company said in the same first quarter period, 20 per cent more apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers such as Gap and LL Bean used the service, which features more than 22,000 fabrics sourced from almost 500 mills in 64 countries.

The California-based firm said the soaring user rates follow hefty reductions in travel to the Asia Pacific region due SARS outbreak.

Greg vas Nunes, DuPont's vice president, global ready-to-wear, said: "We've been enormously pleased with the apparel industry's acceptance of our Online Fabric Library.

"Our partnership with Freeborders to build and host this scalable solution has been instrumental in helping drive new interest in DTI's innovative fibres, including Lycra."