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UL’s Durability Solutions for Textiles, Apparel and Footwear

Learn how UL’s durability solutions for raw materials and finished products can help fashion and luxury brands and their global supply chain to manufacture and sell more sustainable and quality textiles, apparel and footwear.

Shopping in an apparel store

Durability matters: High-quality articles can benefit your sustainability efforts.

Generation Z and millennials are searching for high-quality, longer-lasting garments and footwear, and they increasingly want fashion and luxury companies to think about their environmental impact. These new habits are changing how fashion retailers’ view sustainability.

Consumers buying quality garments, footwear and accessories generally results in less frequent purchases and reduced waste due to discarding poor-quality, faded clothing.

Creating longer-lasting, quality products can benefit fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers for one particular reason that may not be obvious at a glance: It can help support a more sustainable approach.

With durability comes quality and sustainability. Durability evaluations can help you improve these two important aspects of your product. This helps strengthen your brand reputation and increase your customers’ loyalty and satisfaction while demonstrating that you care about the environment.

What does durability mean?

Durability refers to a product’s ability to remain functional when faced with the challenges of normal operation over its useful life without requiring excessive maintenance or repair.

Designing and manufacturing clothes that last longer represent key factors in increasing the average number of times consumers use those clothes yearly, thereby reducing disposal of garments.

Durability branches into two categories:

  • Emotional durability — garments that consumers cherish and with which they maintain a positive emotional connection
  • Physical durability — resistant to damage; garments that consumers can wear many times

How UL can help

UL can help you evaluate your textiles’ durability in the raw materials or finished product phase.

Raw materials phase

Deliberately choosing raw materials is crucial to maintaining a garment’s durability. Proper selection of fiber types, yarn structure, fabric construction, and dyeing and finishing processes can make a big difference.

Testing in the raw material stage can provide a preliminary overview of the fabric’s performance against the required durability standard, which can also help identify areas for improvement.

UL’s experts can support with preliminary investigation services which include pre-testing as you choose your raw materials.

Finished product phase

To provide both emotional and physical durability, the garment should still look good and function as intended even after repeated home laundering for at least 30 washing cycles. Performing relevant performance tests before and after repeated home laundering can provide an overview of the garment’s durability and identify any gaps.

UL’s global network of laboratories can offer performance tests including:

  • Dimensional stability
  • Appearance evaluation
  • Tensile strength
  • Tearing strength
  • Bursting strength
  • Seam strength
  • Pocket strength
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Colorfastness

UL’s experts can help you carefully select the appropriate recognized international test methods (AATCC, ASTM and ISO), based on the customer’s needs, follow up closely on the testing process, and objectively state the results.

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