The jackets, together with the rest of Team USA's uniform for the Opening Ceremony, have been designed by Ralph Lauren of New York City. The fabric is called Intelligent Insulation and has been developed by Skyscrape of Portland, Oregon, USA.
Intelligent Insulation automatically adjusts the level of thermal insulation it provides based on the temperature of its surrounding environment. It is made from a yarn that expands or contracts as temperatures change, allowing channels in the fabric to puff-up and trap more air when cold – thereby increasing the insulation it provides – and to flatten again once warm. Skyscrape's Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brent Ridley, is named as an Inventor in a number of Patents describing such technologies(1). The result is a garment that is comfortable to wear in a wide range of temperatures, meaning fewer articles of clothing would be needed in day-to-day life.
Chief Branding and Innovation Officer at Ralph Lauren, David Lauren, says: “For the first time, you can have a singular item that provides incredible versatility and style, for a variety of temperatures, changing the way we can holistically think about the make-up of a consumer’s closet."
Director of Manufacturing at Skyscrape, Carly Mick, adds: “Skyscrape’s temperature-responsive insulating fabric is quite versatile and can be tuned to be effective for a variety of temperature ranges and products. There are so many places this could go.”
The rest of Team USA's Opening-Ceremony uniform comprises a mid-layer jacket, pants, gloves and boots, all of which feature polyester (PES) fibres made with post-consumer-recycled plastic bottles.