Dr. Regina Henkel
Dr. Regina Henkel

Karl Karl' and 'Imidetex': Textile Innovations for the Sports Industry

Premiere in Europe: I.S.T. Corporation from Japan Presents Textile Innovations

New superfibres that are not affected by extreme environmental conditions, new clothing yarns that are extremely stretchy, light and yet warm: I.S.T Corporation from Japan presents its new textile innovations for the sports industry for the first time in Europe.

CEO Toko Sakane präsentiert sich mit I.S.T. Corporation zum ersten Mal in Europa und auf der ISPO MUNICH.
The Japanese I.S.T Corporation presents itself for the first time in Europe with new super fibers and new clothing yarns.

I.S.T. Corporation is a Japanese materials company with the claim to "invent technologies that no one can imitate". I.S.T. was founded in 1983 and has specialized in the development of innovative materials for various industries. In the sports industry,  the I.S.T. Corporation is only known to a few, although there have been first cooperations with well-known manufacturers such as Patagonia in the last seasons. At ISPO Munich 2020, I.S.T. shows up in Europe for the first time. CEO Toko Sakane explains what news she wants to present. 

ISPO.com: Ms. Sakane, this is the first time that you will be presenting I.S.T. at a European trade fair. Why now?

Toko Sakane: We would like to present our innovations to you. Our goal is to open up new possibilities for the sports industry through our innovations.

New Super Fibres and Clothing Yarns

What news do you bring?

At ISPO Munich 2020 we will present our new materials and technologies: Imidetex and Karl Karl. Imidetex is a revolutionary fibre made from polyimide resin, one of the most powerful polymers also used by the aerospace industry. The fibre has a particularly tear strength and UV resistance and offers many application possibilities for sports equipment and for extreme environments. Karl Karl is a patented spinning technology that combines a core thread with another thread. Karl Karl can be used to produce yarns that look and feel just like real wool, but are made from 100% recycled polyester and are therefore extremely stretchy. By stretching the yarn structure extremely, it is possible for the material to be light yet warm, two properties that are otherwise rather opposite poles. Wool, cotton, silk, polyester or nylon - the possibilities for combining different yarns are endless.

What do your innovations improve, where do you see good application possibilities?

We see better performance in equipment and clothing. Possible applications for Imidetex include sports equipment such as sails and ropes or composite materials. For Karl Karl, it's all about innovations in sportswear. The new possibilities depend on the combinations with other fibres; Karl Karl offers the manufacturer more possibilities for the development of ideal products.

Challenge of the Future: Recycled Fibres

The I.S.T. Corporation is hardly known in the sportswear industry - what kind of company is I.S.T.? Which products do you specialise in?

I.S.T. is not only a textile company. We are specialized in functional material technologies. For example, we also produce high-temperature resistant materials, composite materials, textile materials for other industries.

Innovations are your speciality. What are you currently researching in the textile sector?

We are specialized in functional material technologies. We are currently researching with recycled cellulose fibres.

Where do you currently see the greatest challenges in the field of materials for the textile industry?

The biggest challenge for I.S.T. at present is the development of fibers made from waste materials without the use of harmful chemicals in production.

Imidetex is a revolutionary fibre made of polyimide resin.
Imidetex is a revolutionary fibre made of polyimide resin and is characterized by particularly high tear strength and UV resistance.

Sustainability Is on the Agenda

How important is the development of sustainable materials for you?

Very important. We know that we have to integrate the ecological, social and economic structures of sustainable measures into our company and future working structure.

The sports industry has dedicated itself to functional fibres. How do you see the future of petroleum-based textiles? Are there alternatives?

We believe that petroleum-based plastics will always be used, but we believe that in the future the use of these plastics will be minimized for the Pacific region. This means that the proportion of alternative raw materials will change.

What are the current limits to the development of sustainable textiles? Are they within the boundaries of science or in the lack of interest of brands and consumers?

For I.S.T. there are currently no limits.


You will find I.S.T.Corporation at ISPO Munich in hall C1, booth 531.


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Dr. Regina Henkel
Dr. Regina Henkel
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