Celanese and Under Armour develop innovative Neolast fiber for use in performance stretch fabrics

Dallas, TX – Celanese Corporation and Under Armour, Inc. have collaborated to develop a new fiber for performance stretch fabrics called NEOLAST™. The innovative material will offer the apparel industry a high-performing alternative to elastane – an elastic fiber that gives apparel stretch, commonly called spandex. This new alternative could unlock the potential for end users to recycle performance stretch fabrics, a legacy aspect that has yet to be solved in the pursuit of circular manufacturing with respect to stretch fabrics.

NEOLAST™ fibers feature the powerful stretch, durability, comfort, and improved wicking expected from elite performance fabrics yet are also designed to begin addressing sustainability challenges associated with elastane, including recyclability. The fibers are produced using a proprietary solvent-free melt-extrusion process, eliminating potentially hazardous chemicals typically used to create stretch fabrics made with elastane.

NEOLAST™ fibers will be produced using recyclable elastoester polymers, a critical first step for the industry to address the challenge of recycling blended fabrics containing elastane. As end users transition to a more circular economy, Celanese and Under Armour are exploring the potential of the fibers to improve the compatibility of stretch fabrics with future recycling systems and infrastructure.

“Working with a leading global brand like Under Armour to elevate the performance and sustainability benefits of their products is just the first of many great things we hope to accomplish with this innovative NEOLAST™ technology,” said Tom Kelly, Celanese senior vice president, Engineered Materials. “Celanese is proud to bring its polymer expertise and technical know-how to help manufacture NEOLAST™ fibers for textiles and fabrics to meet the specific needs of our customers and other value chain partners. We are just beginning to unlock its potential and look forward to what’s ahead as we explore other opportunities with end users.”

“This new NEOLAST™ fiber represents a transformative innovation for Under Armour and the textile industry, embodying our commitment to building better products for our consumers and planet,” said Kyle Blakely, senior vice president of innovation at Under Armour. “Through performance-driven sustainability and innovation, we look forward to helping athletes play at the top of their game as we work with Celanese to realize this new fiber’s potential to forge a path toward circularity.”

In addition to the sustainability benefits, the new NEOLAST™ fibers deliver increased production precision, allowing spinners to dial power-stretch levels up or down and engineer fibers to meet a broader array of fabric specifications.

In addition to Celanese exploring application opportunities with Under Armour, the company intends to make the fiber available to the broader apparel industry, potentially reducing elastane dependence.