Steve Rawlings from Odegon Technologies recently gave an interview to Fibre2Fashion.com. Read it here!
a) Mr Rawlings, can you explain how the need for designing products that absorb odours came into existence? What did you have in mind when you designed it?
Chemical odour suppressant finishes tend to kill all bacteria, both good and bad. During the wash cycle, these finishes can leach out onto the body and the environment and some cause untold damage to aquatic and marine life yet to be researched fully. Thinking this is not an ideal solution, I cast my mind back to earlier in my career.
A number of years ago whilst working in the defence industry I came across a material which absorbed not just odours, but was also used (and still is) for life saving breathing filters against chemical warfare agents. I realised what a powerful tool it was for odour absorbing when placed correctly in a garment. It was the head of quality and innovation at a Global retailer who saw the unique advantages of Odegon over chemical finishes, he said "All finishes are like using a sledgehammer to crack open a nut, whereas Odegon is so much more incisive and targets just the areas that need odour control with no unpleasant side effects such as environmental contamination."
b) How many brands have agreed to use the product till now and what are your plans for 2015-16? How do you plan to expand your business?
We have at this moment over 15 major brands worldwide with a number still trialling Odegon and more coming on board. Being a relatively new and expanding company we have targeted the major brands first. With executives moving to different companies they tend to take good ideas and concepts with them such as our Odegon products. Recent major names include UMBRO, Ted Baker, Carrefour Clothing, Pretty Polly and Raymond of India.
c) How do the products actually work? What are the chemical processes involved? Are they safe when the person wears them?
It is important to emphasise that unlike many other anti-odour products, we do not use chemicals. Instead our technology relies upon a physical attractive force which works on a very small scale. Our material has countless 'micro-pores' and when odour causing molecules come into contact with these micro-pores, they become trapped. There is a huge internal surface area present in our material which means the odour absorbing capability is vast. We do not aim to kill bacteria because we know this can have a detrimental effect on the environment and potentially also on the garment wearer's skin. Instead we focus on solving the problem in hand, and eliminate the odour rather than unselectively killing both good and bad bacteria.
d) What are some of the challenges associated with brands - as in did you encounter any issues after you tied up with several brands?
The biggest challenge is getting across the concept of not using any chemicals and the acceptance of the product working. Even though we have proven tests from a variety of institutions and even wearer trial tests from such respected companies as Boots the Chemist and Marks and Spencer, each potential customer wants to carry out their own field trials. It's very reassuring when clients come back with glowing reports as to the effectiveness of the products. A number of international airlines are now using Odegon in their cabin crew uniforms and we are getting many repeat orders through their uniform suppliers. We find we usually have to go in at senior level to get noticed and those most receptive to new technology tend to be Garment Technologists but also Marketing Directors. These people can see the potential of Odegon and want to offer their customers something new and genuinely effective.
e) What is your next big project? What are you researching on currently?
Because we have invested a lot of resources in securing our intellectual property internationally (such as Patents), our product offering is expanding and we can become more flexible in coming up with 'bespoke' odour absorbing solutions. Garments such as shirts, jackets and blouses are our bread and butter however we are now expanding to include all garment and accessory classes. New projects which we can talk about include bespoke solutions for hosiery, sports bags, footwear and headwear. There are many others but confidentially prevents us from divulging more details. Watch this space!
- Steve Rawlings from Odegon Technologies recently gave an interview to Fibre2Fashion.com. Read it here!