August 13, 2002
Nextec and Malden Will Clothe Uncle Sams Troops
By Karen Zekan
The first pieces of what will become the U.S. militarys
warmest defense against cold weather are receiving their
first public viewing at this years Summer Market.
Nextec Applications has on display the outerwear pieces
that will be worn by Americas 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
Defenses 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
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
Americaand right now, an enormous amount of materials
can only be found overseas, Miller said.
Nextec will also make the PCU available to interested
Contact Victoria Cabot