The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by safety, high-intensity warfare, and technology, and the growing importance of technologies such as novel fabrics, aramid fibres, and fire-retardant fabrics. In the last three years alone, there have been over 32,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on High-intensity warfare in Apparel: Fire-retardant garments.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 13,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the apparel industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Fire-retardant garments is a key innovation area in high-intensity warfare

Fire-resistant garments are those clothing pieces that are designed specifically to protect the person who wears them from thermal injury and flames. Fire-resistant garments are used in many fields including military, fire service, and aerospace.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fire-retardant garments.

Key players in fire-retardant garments – a disruptive innovation in the apparel industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to fire-retardant garments

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
DuPont de Nemours 52 Unlock company profile
Teijin 43 Unlock company profile
Toray Industries 13 Unlock company profile
Elevate Textiles 7 Unlock company profile
Milliken & Co 7 Unlock company profile
Corteva 6 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 6 Unlock company profile
Japan Wool Textile 6 Unlock company profile
Polartec 5 Unlock company profile
Greve 5 Unlock company profile
Mmi Ipco 5 Unlock company profile
Toray Fluorofibers (America) 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading players in the fire-retardant garments space in terms of patents filed are DuPont de Nemours, Teijin, Toray Industries, and Elevate Textiles. DuPont offers Nomex, a highly durable, flame-resistant meta-aramid fibre. In March 2022, DuPont announced the introduction of Nomex Extreme Performance, a protection category for emergency workers. This new addition to the Nomex portfolio provides high thermal protection, along with protection from flames and heat, chemicals, and particulates and cuts.

The top companies in the fire-retardant garments space in terms of application diversity are Mmi Ipco, Polartec, Japan Wool Textile, and Elevate Textiles.

The leading players in this space in terms of geographic reach are Japan Wool Textile, Teijin, Greve, and Toray Industries.

Conflicts between nations and increasing wildfires owing to climate change have been necessitating better protection for fire-fighters. Fire-retardant fabric innovations are much needed in the present day.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the apparel industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Apparel.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.