ATLANTA, July 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The sweatshirt has lost its sweat. However, it is better than ever before and maintains its position as the icon of American style. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060711/CLTU069 ) Russell Athletic, the company that invented the sweatshirt 80 years ago and has led in sweatshirt sales ever since, is introducing the most significant technology breakthrough in the history of America's most classic clothing icon. The new technology, which manages moisture and transfers sweat away from the skin, will debut this week in Russell Athletic sweatshirts under the brand name of Dri-Power(R) Fleece. "This is the most important technology breakthrough in the history of the sweatshirt," said Russell Athletic Vice President of Marketing Alex Hodges. "It is easy to underestimate the place of the sweatshirt in American culture, much less to think of it in terms of innovation. However, a recent research study showed us that 90 percent of Americans own more than one sweatshirt, and that most people have purchased a new sweatshirt in the last 12 months. Dri- Power(R) Fleece will make life more comfortable for all of us." Ultimate in comfort, Russell Athletic's Dri-Power(R) technology is a dual moisture management system that first pulls sweat away from the body and then transfers it to the top layer of fabric, keeping the wearer's body drier and cooler than with untreated fabric. "Until now, the sweatshirt would soak up the sweat -- hence the name 'sweatshirt.' We aren't changing the name," Hodges said. "It looks the same, but now the sweatshirt pulls sweat away from your skin and baselayer and keeps it on the top of the fabric where it evaporates more quickly. It keeps you drier and more comfortable longer." "Russell Athletic is committed to giving elite and everyday athletes the chance to workout and become healthier. Products like our Dri-Power(R) Fleece sweatshirt can be used every day at every level of activity and promise its wearers performance, durability and value," added Hodges. Russell Athletic's Dri-Power(R) Fleece hits stores nationwide this week, at a time when adults are focused on increasing their physical activity. The number of health clubs has increased steadily over the past decade, and fitness participation is climbing, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). "Intense aerobic activity increases a body's sweat production, and evaporation of that sweat is the body's natural way of cooling core temperature," said Dr. Larry Kenney, Russell Athletic sweatxpert and professor of physiology at Penn State University. "Clothing worn during workouts should maximize sweat's evaporative efficiency." That is what Dri-Power(R) Fleece does. Russell Athletic is a division of sporting goods manufacturer Russell Corporation, which also owns brands like Spalding(R), BIKE(R), Brooks(R) and Mossy Oak(R). The sweatshirt has been the main staple of Russell Athletic for 80 years when it was first used as a replacement for the then wool football jersey. The sweatshirt worn by that first football team still resembles the ones worn today on every street in America and around the world. More than 65 million athletes now wear sweatshirts as part of their workout attire. Most often used as a transition piece from gym to home, or used as a layering piece before or after a workout, now the sweatshirt is equipped to work as hard as any other performance gear. Dri-Power(R) technology was introduced four years ago by Russell Athletic in its baselayer and everyday performance pieces and more recently in its team uniforms. However the technology for fleece is revolutionary. Dri-Power(R) Fleece is another way Russell Athletic provides top-quality products for athletes at every level and strengthens its reputation as the everyday performance brand. The basic gray sweatshirt may look pretty much the same as it always did, but Russell Athletic sweatshirts now come in more than 20 colors and four different styles. "As the saying goes, things change but some things stay the same," concluded Hodges. "The sweatshirt as a basic item in everyone's wardrobe is a constant. However, the sweatshirt has had its biggest change ever this year, a perfect way to celebrate its 80th birthday. Dri-Power(R) Fleece is a big breakthrough." ABOUT RUSSELL ATHLETIC Russell Athletic serves as the main operating division and flagship brand of Russell Corporation. Russell Athletic is dually headquartered in Alexander City, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, and employs 1,800 people worldwide. For more than 100 years, Russell Athletic has supplied America's athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best. This year Russell Athletic will outfit more than 500 Division I teams and offer more than 200 pieces in its fall 2006 retail line alone. www.russellathletic.com ABOUT RUSSELL ATHLETIC SWEATXPERT DR. LARRY KENNEY W. Larry Kenney is professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State University where he teaches and conducts research at Noll Laboratory. His research interests include the cardiovascular and thermoregulatory responses to heat stress and dehydration, control of human skin blood flow and the biophysics of heat exchange between human beings and the environment. NIH- funded work focuses on the effects of aging on the ability to tolerate and adapt to environmental challenges. Dr. Kenney is a fellow and past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. He also chairs the Gatorade Sports Science Institute's Science Advisory Board. ABOUT RUSSELL CORPORATION Russell Corporation is a leading branded athletic and sporting goods company marketing athletic apparel, uniforms, footwear and equipment for a variety of sports, outdoor and fitness activities. The company's major brands include Russell Athletic(R), JERZEES(R), Spalding(R), Brooks(R), Huffy Sports(R), BIKE(R), Moving Comfort(R), AAI(R) and Mossy Oak(R). Russell Corporation is dually headquartered in Alexander City, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, and employs 15,000 people worldwide. The company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RML and its Web site address is http://www.russellcorp.com.
SOURCE Russell Athletic