August 13, 2002

Nextec and Malden Will Clothe Uncle Sam’s Troops
Vista, CA

By Karen Zekan
The first pieces of what will become the U.S. military’s warmest defense against cold weather are receiving their first public viewing at this year’s Summer Market.

Nextec Applications has on display the outerwear pieces that will be worn by America’s Special Forces, and Malden Mills is showing the base layers which complete what is being called the Protective Combat Uniform (PCU).

The military began searching the outdoor industry in January to find the best design, materials and concept for a breathable, water-resistant PCU. Nextec, Malden Mills and other unnamed suppliers scored at the top and won the contract, according to the Department of Defense’s Richard Elder, PCU project manager.

The final versions of the PCU pieces were completed within days of Summer Market, Elder said.

Designer Melody Miller created the 17-garment collection with seven different levels of protection for the lightest possible layering in the greatest range of temperatures. The material has been laboratory tested to withstand minus 40 degrees.

"The more alert these guys are, the more they will be able to operate quickly and efficiently," Miller said. "These guys are the reason we are able to live safely in this country. I want to do everything I can to make sure they can do their job. I thought about how much that matters, all the way down to their fingertips."

The PCU garments utilizing EPIC by Nextec fabrics include a wind shirt, soft-shell stretch jacket and pant, and a Polarguard insulated jacket, pant and vest. Malden Mills provided the materials for the base-layer pieces.

Miller said the biggest challenge was acquiring all the material she needed. U.S. Military standards require that every ounce of fabric and components be made in America—and right now, an enormous amount of materials can only be found overseas, Miller said.

Nextec will also make the PCU available to interested retailers.

Contact Victoria Cabot



Nextec Applications:
Victoria Cabot