DRIFIRE’s patented fiber blend represents a new era in functional fabric design. For centuries, clothing form, fit and function were defined by the known and limited natural attributes of commodity substances like cotton, wool and leather, to name a few. In the early to mid 20th century, an array of lab experiments and some fortuitous engineering discoveries produced the first man-made materials. To a great extent, uses for these materials were determined after the often serendipitous arrival of the new substance. In the 21st century, this process has been inverted. Today, fabric engineers, technologists and lab scientists begin their research by identifying a set of desired fiber, blend and fabric qualities. They then develop solutions using a wealth of chemical knowledge about both natural and man-made substances.
On December 2, 1996, on behalf of Optimer Performance Fibers, Manfred Katz applied for patent protection of a breakthrough blend of fibers in a novel proportion to provide the optimal combination of moisture wicking and fast drying properties to fabrics manufactured using this blend.
On March 30, 1999, The United States Patent Office granted patent #5,888,914 to protect Optimer’s concept, which is best explained by the following abstract from the patent application: Yarns consisting essentially of about 85 to 90 weight % hydrophobic fiber and about 10 to 15 weight % hydrophilic fiber can be made into fabrics that exhibit a combination of properties that make them strongly preferred by wearers, as compared even to fabrics made from yarns containing only 5% more, or 5% less, of the hydrophilic fiber. More particularly, these novel yarns yield fabrics capable of quickly absorbing perspiration from a wearer's skin and yet capable of quickly releasing that moisture, resulting in surprising levels of wearer comfort and wearer preference.
In September of 2004, DRIFIRE received financial backing and management consulting support from Sterling Partners, a private equity firm with over $4 billion of capital under management. At this time, a rapid phase of advanced research and development began, aimed at creating a Flame Resistant (FR) fabric using Optimer’s patented, moisture management fiber blend.
From 2005 to 2006, DRIFIRE successfully developed a first-generation, moisture-management FR product, targeted mainly towards military end- users.
Since then, DRIFIRE and Optimer Performance Fibers merged, becoming Optimer Brands. DRIFIRE® has continued to innovate, broadening its high performance product range to include combat garments for the military as well as high-visibility apparel for commercial markets, and has established itself as the leader in comfortable FR protection.