Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT), which produces and markets Crailar flax-based fibres, is teaming up with Austria-based Lenzing Group to look at potential new applications in fashion and sportswear.

Under the deal, the two companies will blend Crailar with Lenzing's Tencel (lyocell) and Lenzing Modal cellulosic fibres to create a new yarn for the women's fashion market.

They also plan to leverage the fibres' water absorption and wicking properties to create an alternative material for use in athletic and sport performance clothing.

"With Lenzing, we can now evaluate the opportunity to expand the host fibres with which Crailar can blend to identify new performance attributes, applications and industries," said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies.

"This is truly a new frontier for the future of our natural fibres, and working with the global leader Lenzing creates a very powerful industry platform in both sustainability and performance."

The company already supplies Crailar to HanesBrands, Georgia-Pacific, and Brilliant Global Knitwear for commercial use, and to Levi Strauss & Co, Cintas, Carhartt, Ashland, Westex, and Target for evaluation and development.