Canada-based Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) — a developer of technology to process
bast fibers including industrial hemp for use in a range of applications — has signed an agreement
with G.J. Littlewood & Son Inc. — a Philadelphia-based commission dyer of man-made and natural
fibers — to process Crailar® Organic Fibers for use in commercial apparel products. Crailar is a
proprietary enzymatic technology for processing bast fiber for use in apparel, home furnishing and
carpeting applications. According to NAT, fibers processed using the technology are a
cost-comparable and sustainable alternative to organic cotton.
“We are excited to have signed the foremost fiber processor/dyer in North America for the
next step in executing our Crailar Organic Fibers commercialization plan,” said Ken Barker, CEO,
NAT. “In September, we expect to begin producing approximately 20,000 pounds of fiber per week for
our apparel partners as well as provide testing yarns to spinning companies for the home
furnishings, denim and work wear markets. As such, we anticipate delivering our first revenue from
Crailar in the fourth quarter. Our agreement secures initial capacity of approximately 40,000
pounds per week, with the capability to aggressively ramp up from there to meet the needs of our
NAT also has signed a multiphase joint development agreement with Winstom-Salem, N.C.-based
Hanesbrands Inc., allowing Crailar to be processed for use in Hanesbrands’ apparel knit products.
NAT will use technology developed with and licensed from The National Research Council of Canada to
retrofit existing dyeing equipment at a Hanesbrands plant to enable commercial production of the
organic apparel-grade fibers.
“We are eagerly working with NAT to incorporate Crailar Organic Fibers into our production
process,” said Michael Faircloth, vice president of global supply chain support, Hanesbrands. “Our
interest in developing Crailar’s potential for applications in the knit apparel market grew out of
the impressive performance-enhancement characteristics it demonstrates, as well as the economic and
environmental benefits it offers.”
In November 2008, NAT announced test results from trials of Crailar conducted at Raleigh,
N.C.-based North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles
“Naturally Advanced Technologies Completes Successful Trials of Crailar Technology,
www.TextileWorld.com, Nov. 18, 2008). In the trials, sponsored by Hanesbrands, industrial
hemp blended yarn was carded and ring-spun using conventional unmodified cotton equipment and was
knitted into 5-ounce-per-square-yard jersey fabric. NAT reports that using Crailar technology to
produce the fabric resulted in a 50-percent reduction in shrinkage, 45-percent increase in tensile
strength, and 20-percent reduction in dye uptake. The fabric also exhibited wicking capabilities.
August 4, 2009