Activated Silk: A New Way for Nylon and Next-to-Skin Health

Boost the performance of your next-to-skin apparel and accessories with Activated Silk™, a natural alternative to traditional nylon finishing chemicals.

From athletes to patients managing venous disorders, diabetes or post-surgical swelling, your customers use next-to-skin nylon apparel and accessories to support their overall health and wellness. But therapeutic wear isn’t cheap. For example, a pair of compression socks typically ranges from $20-$50—and technical quality is crucial. To achieve this, fabrics are typically finished with petroleum-based chemicals to improve durability, performance and comfort. But these chemicals, which are used to manufacture everything from apparel to personal care products, can be harmful to people and the planet. 

At Evolved By Nature, we are working to improve the performance of next-to-skin products with a brand-new alternative to harsh, potentially harmful finishing chemicals: Activated Silk™ technology.

Activated Silk is an all-natural nylon finish that studies demonstrate can outperform traditional synthetic finishing chemicals. It makes nylon-based textiles more durable and better at wicking sweat—and unlike conventional finishing agents, Activated Silk is biodegradable and free of potentially harmful chemicals that can absorb into the body through the wearer’s skin. Best of all, it’s cost-effective, and can be seamlessly integrated into your existing manufacturing process.

With Activated Silk, greater performance and greater next-to-skin health go hand in hand. Replacing the harmful chemicals used to finish nylon-based apparel with Activated Silk—pure, natural liquefied silk protein—is a real differentiator, and one that customers are eager for. In research recently conducted with 1,200 apparel consumers, we found that Activated Silk’s health and sustainability attributes are seen as new and compelling purchase decision drivers. Of the people we talked with who purchase a lot of athletic wear, approximately 90 percent said they would think more favorably of a brand that treated its apparel with Activated Silk, and that it would make them more likely to purchase that brand’s products.*

Your customers rely on next-to-skin products—such as compression gear—for their health. Activated Silk is our way of making sure your products deliver optimal performance while remaining as healthy as possible.

  • Activated Silk improves moisture management: Nylon blends treated with Activated Silk are proven to wick moisture 10 percent better than traditional finishes, and their dry rate is 35 percent better.¹
  • Activated Silk makes fabrics feel better: Activated Silk delivers a cool, smooth feeling to nylon-blend fabrics, making skintight compression apparel more comfortable to wear.
  • Activated Silk makes next-to-skin garments better for people and the planet: Unlike synthetic nylon finishes, Activated Silk is sustainable, made from a renewable resource and always free of toxic chemicals. 

Claims above are based on data from comparative tests run on real commercial nylon-blend fabric. Results may vary based on blends and finishes used. To test your fabric with Activated Silk, please contact us.

So what is Activated Silk, exactly? 

It starts with silk, a natural polymer with amazing performance properties that have been studied in scientific literature for 80 years (and coveted for thousands). In essence, we’ve extracted and liquefied pure silk protein using natural silk cocoons, salt, water and heat. Manipulated one way, Activated Silk can wick moisture; manipulated another, it can make wool less prone to pilling. We have more than 75 patented Activated Silk molecular configurations (you can find out more about how it’s made here), and that’s just the beginning.

Activated Silk performs as well for the planet as it does for your products. The conventional textile finishing industry is hazardous to the environment—25 percent of global chemical output stems from the textile industry. Take wicking agents, which often contain formaldehyde and PFOAs, harmful to our health and persistent in the environment. Or softening agents, which usually come in forms like silicone derivatives that accumulate in the environment. They’re washed out of clothes during each laundering, and that wastewater finds its way into our rivers and oceans. It also finds its way back into our bodies in the form of harmful silica biogas. And those are just a few examples.

Twenty percent of industrial water pollution is linked to wet processing of textiles alone, according to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, cited in CMF’s (Changing Market Foundation) report.

In contrast, Activated Silk is safe for the planet and the people on it. Our pure silk protein is:

  • All-natural: Made from natural, responsibly sourced silk cocoons, salt and water.
  • Sustainable: Silk is renewable, and its production mitigates its own carbon footprint. The elegance of Activated Silk’s ingredients and purification process mean that it’s low-impact and ready to scale.
  • Free of formaldehyde, BPA, phthalates, PFOAs, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in textile processing: These chemicals can damage the reproductive health of fish, birds, and mammals—including humans.

The best part for your supply team (besides not having to handle hazardous chemicals any longer): Activated Silk was designed to be cost-effective and easy to implement into the manufacturing process. It’s as simple as swapping out your current textile finishing bath for a bath containing our technical yet elegant silk protein, and faithful to our name: Evolved By Nature.

When you’re ready to take the next step in making next-to-skin wear that will love your customers as much as they love your gear, contact our team. It’s your apparel—Evolved By Nature.

*Evolved By Nature primary consumer research, n=1200, fielded August 23–27, 2018.

¹Test methods: AATCC 197-202, AATCC 201-1013, performed on nylon-blend activewear fabric.