Transforming the needs of athletes in product requirements

Some garments are created in factories and are adapted to the various sports, and some garments come from the real needs of athletes and are designed to meet their specific necessities: these are the PoloTexSportTM items, a trademark which certifies that what you wear is the result of a virtuous path that pays attention to their user
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PoloTexSport™ is a certification registered public trademark appearing on innovative products that are designed and tested to meet the needs of their user; it isn’t managed by manufacturing companies, but by a town in the North of Italy, Busto Arsizio (Va) and by a no-profit association, the “NewTex Distretto Tessile Innovazione”, which are carrying out a project for the textile companies of the District of Varese, and for athletes of various disciplines, including cycling. Engineer Piero Sandroni, president at NewTex and coordinator of the PoloTexSport project, has told us its story in detail.

The genesis of the project

«In 2006-2007 with Gigi Farioli, Mayor of Busto Arsizio, – explains Sandroni – we were thinking about speeding up the local textile companies. The idea was to direct companies toward textile for sport, borrowing a bit from what happens for Formula 1, where solutions to problems created in stressful situations enable to obtain useful elements for cars we drive every day. The opportunity came from an announcement of Lombardy region which requested the presentation of projects related to the increase of competitiveness of the local productive system; the municipal administration of Busto presented a project, to whom some pilot companies contributed with their ideas, called PoloTexSport. I was the coordinator of this project, which at last gave rise not only to some value products, but mainly to a methodology, a certification public trademark issued for products carrying out the methodology path from the beginning to the end. The project ended in June of last year but companies who were members, together with others who had realized the value of manufacturing products according to this method, have joined together and decided to continue the experience, over-taxing themselves. This is how the “NewTex Distretto Tessile Innovazione” was created».

Certification path and the role of cyclists

But what is exactly this methodological path and what benefits does it bring to sportspeople? «PoloTexSport ™ products are the result of auditions of athletes who provide design elements – explains Sandroni –. The starting point is always the need of a particular sport such as cycling; we put around a table athletes who practice this sport, including professionals, together with representatives and technicians of textile companies, and we start investigating on how athletes dress and what real problems they have about clothing. After discussing, sportspeople highlight requirements and needs they know well and that aren’t often met in garments on the market. At this moment the NewTex’s and our companies’ work starts, which consists in transforming needs into product requirements and characteristics: the entire production chain, from those who spin, to those who weave, process and package, works on possible solutions and everybody cooperates to create a product that meets the features that our cycling experts ask for. For example the problem of body temperature management, since cyclists continuously sweat when they move under the sun, then they cross shaded areas, maybe galleries, with temperature variations that must be managed; the general problem of sweating and consequent formation of bad smells for bacterial proliferation, but also the need of eliminating wet in contact with their skin and so on.