The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by technology-enabled manufacturing processes and innovative fabrics, and the growing importance of technologies such as 3D printing, machine learning, and augmented reality. 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 Advanced materials in Apparel: Polyamide fabric 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. 

Polyamide fabric garments is a key innovation area in advanced materials 

Polyamide fabrics, which are made of polyamides, are either naturally or synthetically produced fabrics with amide bonds. Nowadays, artificially produced polyamide fabrics are synthesised with unique properties that help enhance the fabric’s durability and provide high-performance garments. Clothing made of polyamide is frequently used for sportswear, outerwear, and undergarments. Shirts and jackets made of polyamide cannot be dry-cleaned. 

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of polyamide fabric garments. 

Key players in polyamide fabric 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 polyamide fabric garments

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 162 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Hathaway 78 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 74 Unlock company profile
Toray Industries 70 Unlock company profile
Teijin 44 Unlock company profile
Asahi Kasei 38 Unlock company profile
Toray Opelontex 21 Unlock company profile
VF 20 Unlock company profile
W. L. Gore & Associates 18 Unlock company profile
S-Techs 14 Unlock company profile
InterTech Group 14 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble Co 14 Unlock company profile
Nilit 12 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 11 Unlock company profile
Corteva 11 Unlock company profile
Parkdale 11 Unlock company profile
Koch Industries 11 Unlock company profile
Noveko Trading 2008 11 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical 10 Unlock company profile
Kaneka 10 Unlock company profile
Mubadala Investment Co 9 Unlock company profile
Solvay 9 Unlock company profile
Covestro 8 Unlock company profile
Hyosung 8 Unlock company profile
Zephyros 7 Unlock company profile
BASF 7 Unlock company profile
Mizuno 6 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 6 Unlock company profile
Brrr! 5 Unlock company profile
Toyobo 5 Unlock company profile
COCONA 5 Unlock company profile
Dow 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading companies in the polyamide fabric garments space in terms of patents filed are NIKE, Berkshire Hathaway, DuPont de Nemours, and Toray Industries. NIKE utilises polyamide blended with elastane in a variety of its fabrics such as swimsuits, two-piece suits, track pants, and other sportswear products. 

The leading companies in this space in terms of application diversity are S-techs, W. L. Gore & Associates, VF, and NIKE

The major companies in terms of geographic reach are NIKE, InterTech Group, Berkshire Hathaway, and Noveko Trading 2008

The polyamide fabric makes for a popular choice in sportswear products due to its attractive features such as abrasion resistance and thermal resistance, while reducing fatigue, making it ideal for sports involving constant cyclic motion such as running, swimming, and cycling. 

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.