There’s something exciting going on at the North Carolina headquarters of AdCapitol Aprons, Bags, Banners, Flags & Wearables (asi/31260). It has the staff at this venerable, century-old supplier a little giddy with anticipation at what they expect to be a game-changing innovation, and their pride over such a dramatic advancement is evident.
The product that is responsible for all the buzz is called S.M.A.R.T Tiers, a revolutionary dual-tier fabric 100% made in North Carolina that takes the science of moisture-wicking to a whole new level. “It’s unbelievable,” says company President Lance Dunn flatly. “There’s nothing that does what this does.”
But what does it do? Moisture-wicking technology isn’t itself a brand-new phenomenon, after all – it’s become the standard for athletic apparel since its inception. The problem with it is simply this: it doesn’t really work.
“It’s absurd,” asserts Dunn. “All they’re basically doing is putting a water-repellant finish on the garment, but the moisture has no place to go, it just stays on your skin.” The two distinct layers of S.M.A.R.T Tiers apparel help explain its difference, as does the supplier’s top-secret innovations into the fabric itself.
Using an inner layer of silky hydrophobic polypropylene that propels sweat away from the body and an outer layer of quick-evaporating cotton, S.M.A.R.T Tiers apparel obliterates odor and moisture, leaving the wearer with a level of comfort not possible with traditional wicking materials.
The wicking properties in AdCapitol’s brand of athletic apparel won’t wash out, either; they’re part of the fabric, not a treatment that gets applied afterward. “It’s all chemical-free and permanent,” Dunn says. “It never stops working.” That means longer and stronger workouts with less fatigue and no overheating. It also means that repeated washings won’t diminish the effectiveness of the garments.
And like Dunn himself, wearers might find themselves approached by curious fellow gym patrons clad in sweat-soaked clothes demanding to know where these amazingly dry, sweat- and odor-free garments came from. “It’s uncanny how it works,” Dunn says. “I give it to people to try and they say ‘you’re never getting it back.’”
Entirely American-made and grown, S.M.A.R.T. Tiers embodies the quality expected of Made-in-the-USA, not to mention the agility and responsiveness domestic manufacturing allows – and for which AdCapitol is well-known. “We do all of our fabrics that way,” says Dunn. “We manufacture and cut-and-sew them here. If someone wants to change something, they can. That’s why our slogan is ‘Can’t find it? We’ll make it!’”
Beyond its durability and its resistance to wrinkling and shrinking, the S.M.A.R.T. Tiers line also uses organic dyes and pigments exclusively, so wearers can be assured that they are enjoying a chemical-free experience. The innovation doesn’t stop there, however. Restless to improve their product even more, the minds at AdCapitol are devising a combination of even softer and higher-performing materials, while continuing to shun any chemicals in favor of natural solutions.
The vast AdCapitol product line seems like it’s about to get a new star, and the rest of the soggy moisture-wicking crowd is about to receive a long-overdue wakeup call. “I would put this up against any fabric that’s out there,” Dunn says.
“I mean ANY fabric.” Dunn is already putting the logistics in place that will be necessary to keep up with the demand he anticipates for his company’s newest creation. AdCapitol doesn’t plan on being caught off guard once the appeal of S.M.A.R.T Tiers becomes obvious to everyone, even if Dunn himself admits to being a little surprised by his creation. “We knew what we were doing,” he says, “but we didn’t expect it to work this well.”