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Rise of Hi-Vis Counterfeit Garments: Using Standards as a Solution

The battle against counterfeit goods is well known in the luxury industry. As production shifts overseas, companies have less control over their supply chains, leading to the rise of fakes. With the total global trade of counterfeit goods reaching nearly half a trillion dollars a year, no industry is immune to counterfeiting and IP infringement.

However, in the personal protective equipment (PPE) arena, counterfeiting poses more than just a branding and business challenge. It represents a human life safety concern. For example, high-visibility safety apparel (HVSA) is critical to workers in highway, roadway, and traffic zones. In such cases, HVSA helps alert vehicle drivers of workers in low-light, low visibility environments. Given the hazards of working in high-traffic areas, there is a huge safety risk for workers who wear HVSA garments that are non-compliant, and fake.

ANSI/ISEA 107: Using Standards to Fight Counterfeits & Non-Compliance

One keystone document used to assess the integrity of HVSA garments is ANSI/ISEA 107: The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories. This standard provides the minimum performance requirements for high-visibility garments, as well as performance class guidelines for HVSA garments worn in different work zones.

Following and understanding these guidelines will be the first step to combating counterfeit, and non-compliant HVSA garments. Many items in the market fail performance requirements. Yet, they are still sold and improperly marketed since qualities such as retroreflectivity are difficult to examine visually. The following summary will aid your understanding of the performance standard.

3 Components to Evaluate Compliance of Hi-Vis Garments According to ANSI/ISEA 107

Fluorescent Background Material: Under normal daylight, the fluorescent background—for example, fluorescent yellow—provides adequate contrast against a background to improve visibility.

Retroreflective Tape: This component plays a huge role in nighttime visibility. As its name suggests, retroreflective materials can bounce light back to its source. This quality ensures that the wearer is noticeable in all postures and orientations.

Design: Different garment types must contain a “minimum area of visible materials.” For example, an HVSA garment used for off-road zones constitutes a Class 1 garment. This classification requires a minimum area of 0.14 sq. m fluorescent background material and 0.10 sq. m retroreflective tape. Design features such as pocketing and logos affect the proportion of visible tape and background material. Thus, one must consider style variations when evaluating HVSA compliance.

Performance Class 2 Vests in Two Different Styles with Labels; Protecting against counterfeit

Pictogram of Performance Class 2 Vest in Two Different Styles

Vartest Laboratories keeps counterfeit HVSA Garments off the market

We leverage our comprehensive expertise in HVSA garment evaluation to keep fake products off the market, ensure worker safety, and educate consumers. In May, Vartest CEO Adam Varley presented on counterfeit textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Forum on Sustainable Labor Practices” AATCC Student Chapter event. A summary of his talk is featured in Applied DNA Science’s June newsletter.

For more information on our technical services for safety apparel, please visit our HVSA website. A summary of our PPE and HVSA capabilities, and third-party certification programs can also be accessed here.

Vartest CEO Receives Alumni of the Year Award at FIT!

We are proud to announce that Vartest President & CEO, Adam Varley, has been awarded the Alumni of the Year Award at the FIT TDM 2019 Dinner. The annual event is hosted through the Textile Marketing and Development Department, celebrating accomplishments of both alumni and seniors in the program. This award acknowledges Adam’s distinctive contributions toward the fashion and apparel industry through his achievements in textile testing.

Permethrin Testing at Vartest

Vartest is one of the few labs that are able to deal with both the textile technology and organic chemistry aspects of permethrin testing.

 

Permethrin is the most widely used insect repellent against mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, and other pest insects. It is typically applied as a finish to both textile piece goods and finished apparel.

 

Permethrin molecule, displayed from 2 angles

 

Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) based industry standard methods and military specifications, Vartest is able to report the amount of permethrin present on a garment both as a percentage on weight of fabric (OWF) and as a mass per unit area (grams per square meter or ounces per square yard).

 

Vartest is also able to assess the amount of permethrin present on a garment after refurbishment, using both diagnostic and industrial wash formulas as well as dry cleaning.

 

For more information, contact us at info@vartest.com.

DR. PREETI ARYA AND HER FIT CLASS VISIT VARTEST

Vartest hosted Dr. Preeti Arya and her Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Textile Development and Marketing class.  Students watched a PowerPoint focusing on the difference between Product Performance Specifications and Test Methods.

The students toured the lab seeing ASTM, AATCC, ISO, GB, ACT, BIFMA and Federal Standard 191 test methods for testing fiber, yarn, fabric (both coated and uncoated), used in apparel, aerospace, medical, military, couture, upholstery and active sportswear end uses.  Specialty testing markets like HVSA (High Visibility Safety Apparel) were reviewed in detail.

Vartest is glad to have built a relationship with the textile and apparel quality assurance and compliance executives of the future and continues to work with both FIT and its students.

Vartest publishes yarn technology whitepaper to AATCC Resource Center

SEM Image of Vortex spun yarn from Vartest Laboratories - Copyright 2018

Fascinated by what a ‘fasciated’ yarn is? Vartest recently published a whitepaper on the AATCC website to showcase our advanced capabilities in classifying yarn structures created by recent textile technologies such as Vortex spinning.  This work complements our expertise in identifying open end, ring spun, and air jet yarn types.

Download this whitepaper from the AATCC Resource Center.

Contact us now to learn more about our other yarn and fiber related testing services such as:

  • Staple Length Analysis
  • Yarn Count and Denier
  • Filament Count
  • Fiber Density
  • Cross-sectional Analysis

For more information, please visit our Fibers, Yarns & Fabrics page or contact us here.

Vartest Featured on “Every Little Thing” Podcast – What Do Care Symbols Mean?

(Click here to skip straight to the Podcast)

 

WTF Do the ⏺ 🔼 ⏹ on My 👕 Tag Mean?

 

We recently had a visit to the Vartest lab from Flora Lichtman of Every Little Thing in Brooklyn, NY to discuss textile testing for care label symbols. What resulted is an interesting and informative introduction to the care symbols used in garment labels around the world.

Of special note are comments from John Langdon of Drexel University in Philadelphia (The inspiration for the Robert Langdon character in Dan Brown’s books) on the challenge of intuitively understanding the meaning behind the current symbols. We also get insight from Ginetex, the International Association for Textile Care Labelling, on the origin of the symbols. Ginetex shared that symbol comprehension is surprisingly low – 70-80% of consumers don’t know what 3 of the 5 main care symbols mean.

If you have a question that needs answering, call the Every Little Thing Help Line at 833-RING-ELT. Gimlet Media is the award-winning narrative podcasting company that aims to help listeners better understand the world and each other.

Every Little Thing Podcast - Brooklyn, NY

Gimlet Media – Every Little Thing

 

Click here to go to the Podcast.

Vartest in Action: Dynamic Seam Fatigue Testing

Dynamic Seam Fatigue (ASTM D4033) assesses the ability of a fabric to be sewn effectively for use on upholstery fabric. The cyclic impact of a weighted wheel over a fabric-covered foam block simulates repetitive stress onto a seat cushion. Just think: how many times this week have you crashed onto your couch after a long work day?

Similar to assessing a portion of your most comfortable reclining chair, a diner booth, or newly upholstered car seat, Dynamic Seam Fatigue testing measures resistance to yarn slippage.  This method is used across a variety of markets—contract & residential upholstery, home, hospitality, and automotive textiles to name a few.

How it works:

The Dynamic Seam Fatigue tester plunges a rubber-faced wheel 7,000 times onto a standard 7-SPI (stitch per inch) upholstery seam. Specimens are sewn in the warp to warp, filling to filling, and warp to filling direction. If after 7,000 cycles, the seams demonstrate no failure, the fabric is determined to have passed the criteria established by ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) and BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association). ASTM D4033-92 is used, modified by BIFMA X 5.4-2012 Seating Durability Test as the standard test method.

See the machine in action below!

How we can help:

Along with the fabric ratings, Vartest provides photographs of any failing specimens so that the Dynamic Fatigue test report can provide effective communication with the supply chain.

Adam Varley cited in new Fashion Law and Compliance Book

We are happy to share that Adam Varley, co-founder of Vartest Laboratories in NYC has been interviewed and cited in the newly released book by Deanne Clark-Esposito, entitled, “A Practical Guide to Fashion Law and Compliance“.   Adam’s comments are part of a Q&A in “Chapter 5 – Flammability Testing and issues specific to children’s products”.

This guide can be purchased on Amazon.

Click here to learn more about the author, Deanne Clark-Esposito, or Clark-Esposito Law Firm, P.C.

A Practical Guide to Fashion Law and Compliance

Fashion Law and Compliance

Peel Adhesion Testing Methods

Vartest upgraded our Instron with a 90-degree peel fixture earlier this year.  It now allows us to perform the following methods:

ASTM B571: Qualitative Adhesion Testing of Metallic Coatings
ASTM D429 Method B: Rubber Property—Adhesion to Substrates
ASTM D3330 Method F: Peel Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Tape
ASTM D6252: Peel Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Labels
ASTM D6862: 90 Degree Peel Resistance of Adhesives

Methods such as ASTM D3330 can be found at www.astm.org.
Other physical testing methods can be found at Physical Testing.

Instron Peel Adhesion Sled

Peel Adhesion Testing

Bed Sheet Thread Count Testing

Thread counts are an important characteristic of top of the bed fabrics, both for consumers and technologists.

As commonly used in the United States the thread count, or “T number,” of a top of the bed (bed sheet) fabric is the sum of the ends (lengthwise yarns) per inch plus the picks (widthwise yarns) per inch contained in the fabric.

The most common woven fabric construction for top of the bed fabrics is the plain weave.  Light and scanning electron images of a lightweight 100% plain weave cotton sheeting fabric are shown below:

 

Light Microscopy of 100% Cotton Sheeting Fabric

 

Scanning Electron Microscopy of 100% Cotton Sheeting Fabric

 

Graphically, this is represented as:

 

Plain Weave

 

Another common woven structure for top of the bed products is the satin weave:

 

Satin Weave

 

Fabrics made of 100% cotton can always have their thread counts determined unambiguously using current definitions, as can intimate blends of cotton and polyester staple (polyester fibers cut up to a length similar to cotton). Top of the bed fabrics containing continuous filament yarns can be trickier to deal with, partially due to unclear definitions of how to count continuous filament yarns in top of the bed products, and partially because of the nature of continuous filament yarns.

The following shows the back of a top of the bed woven satin made with 100% cotton yarns. This fabric uses “10 pick insertion.”  10 individual picks are inserted into the shed (the temporary separation between the upper and lower warp yarns through which the filling is woven) of the loom before the harnesses of the loom alternate and a new shed is formed.

Several years ago ASTM updated the standard terminology for how plied yarns used in bed sheets are counted:

“ASTM D7023 06 (Reapproved 2012) Standard Terminology Relating to Home Furnishings:

thread count, n—in woven textiles as used in sheets and bedding, the sum of the number of warp yarns (ends) and filling yarns (picks) per unit distance as counted while the fabric is held under zero tension and is free of folds and wrinkles, individual warp and filling yarns are counted as single units regardless of whether comprised of single or plied components.

DISCUSSION—The thread count of sheets and bedding articles is frequently displayed on the outside packaging of such items, or utilized in advertising literature. The specific construction of the warp and filling yarns used to construct the fabric in such items may also be displayed. Examples:

“300 Thread count, 2 ply yarn.” A representation of “600 thread count” for this same product would be likely to mislead consumers about the quality of the product purchased.

“Finely woven 380 2 ply fabric.” The representation of “finely woven 760 threads per square inch” is considered to be misleading to the consumer.

The following shows the back of a top of the bed satin fabric made with a 100% polyester filament filling and 100% cotton warp.”

With filament filling yarns the presence of distinct separable yarns comprising a multiple pick insertion fabric can be hard to determine.

To find out more about bed sheets, Take A Video Tour Of An Indian Top Of The Bed Factory or contact us directly.

Vartest is an ISO 17025 Accredited Laboratory in Manhattan providing fast turnaround and technical drill down testing for all aspects of fiber, yarn, fabric and end product testing.