Dyes and chemicals business Huntsman Textile Effects has launched a new assurance scheme to help mills and retailers meet global demand for eco-friendly apparel with rain and stain protection.

The High IQ Repel branding initiative covers a range of non-fluorinated durable water repellent (DWR) treatments, which now include the new Phobotex RCO finish for cotton and cotton-rich blends.

The product line offers finishes in three categories of performance: 'Everyday' provides smart and economical eco-friendly protection against everyday stains for school, casual, athleisure and business wear; 'Outdoor' offers durable and eco-friendly protection for outdoor clothing; and 'Extreme' delivers extreme protection so that mountaineers, skiers and other adventurers stay warm, dry and comfortable even in the most severe environments.

All products in the range are based on non-fluorinated technologies and comply with the requirements of Bluesign, the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Roadmap and Restricted Substances Lists, as well as being suitable for Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

Huntsman says the development was borne out of a need for rain, stain and soil resistant effects. With the global retail sports apparel industry expected to exceed $175bn by 2019, many brands and retailers are also extending their lines with fashion sportswear and activewear collections.

At the same time, there is a global call for more environmentally-friendly formulations. This signals a move away from per-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) due to concern about hazardous residues associated with long-chain C8 PFCs.

"The High IQ Repel programme offers brands, retailers and mills a way to produce high-performance rain- and stain-resistant textiles that satisfy increasingly demanding consumers without compromising environmental sustainability," said Lee Howarth, global marketing manager for finishing at Huntsman Textile Effects.

"Our High IQ Repel programme leverages decades of technical innovation and production expertise, and is based on the most comprehensive range of durable water repellents available to the industry."

Huntman's Phobotex non-fluorinated DWR products now include an RCO water repellent finish, offering high water repellency to cellulosic and cellulosic-based fabrics. It provides durable eco-friendly protection against everyday stains and is recommended for casual, athleisure and school wear.