BYBORRE and the Future of Textiles
BYBORRE isn’t really a fashion label. At its core, it is a textile innovation company that creates clothing as the medium to communicate what fabric can be and do. Designer Borre Akkersdijk was trained in clothing design in NYC and his native Netherlands. Through that, he discovered that his true passion was in how yarns are knitted together and what fibers and compositions were capable of under various conditions.
Innovation often comes from unlikely inspirations. In today’s highly specialized workforce, it takes individuals that can connect disparate disciplines and retool them for new goals. Through creative experimentation and technical tinkering, something new emerges. From there, what other directions can it go?
Using circular knitting machines, BYBORRE experiments with shape, texture and a combination of yarns.
Before starting his own label, Borre Akkersdijk was given free-reign to experiment with a circular knitting machine in a mattress factory. These machines were created for and relegated for the sole use of mattress ticking, but Borre imagined using the same technology for clothing. In the machine’s ability to create varied depths and to mix fibers freely, he recognized the potential to build three dimensional knits of unequaled performance. Hacking the programming, Borre produced surprising new textiles that could be further manipulated by thread inclusions.
In 2010, he started his own textile laboratory and launched the BYBORRE label to showcase the fabrics - working to inspire and influence the future of the industry. For performance, aesthetics and overall feel of the fabrics - nothing compares.
However, there are parallels with GORE-TEX. Though BYBORRE’s approach, and therefore fabrics, are very different from GORE-TEX, both companies are serial collaborators that innovate for specific functions and are used as an ingredient to build superior products. In BYBORRE textiles, several fabrics are brought together in a single garment for a “form follows function” ethos. This quilt-like approach means that a fabrics placement and intended use receives its own consideration.
BYBORRE's KnitLab. Image from Somewhere's blog by Charlie Duong & Kevin Wilson.
For the last half century, it has been outdoorswear that has pushed innovation for textiles, but that has too often led to hypocritical pollution of the natural world. Another level to BYBORRE is their focus on creating sustainable and environmentally conscious designs that prolong, as far as possible, product lifespans and limit post-use impact without sacrificing performance. So much so that Borre Akkersdijk was asked to be one of the designers to outfit explorers attempting a winter expedition to the North Pole in 2020 called the Dark Ice Project. And while building clothing to withstand the harshest elements in the world is an impressive feat, it follows the same guidelines of traditional textiles. BYBORRE saw future potentials for technological incorporation.
The BYBORRE Field Jacket and Weight Map Pants that utilizes GORETEX INFINIUM fabric and two BYBORRE proprietary fabrics: the O2L and AO2. Due to the knit technique used, the front and back layers of the O2L (Open-Interlock 2 Layer) fabric connect and lock into each other to create an open, mesh-like texture on each side, without going all the way through the fabric. The AO2 (Attachment Only 2 layer) fabric is a strong, yet airy and breathable, two layered knit without a filling yarn.
Breakthroughs in chip technology and in the manufacturing of conductive filaments have opened up new possibilities of what clothes can do - far beyond keeping us warm, or making us look cool. It wasn’t that long ago that computers took up the space of an entire room and cell phones were the size of a briefcase. Transistors and microchips have gotten increasingly smaller and more powerful. Magnetic wires have become gossamer threads. BYBORRE’s experiments have included creating a vibration-integrated pillow to help dementia patients communicate, a suit outfitted with Wi-Fi and GPS, and air purifying suits (using cold plasma technology) designed to combat pollution. Sensory textiles, wearable technology, or fashion pieces - Borre Akkersdijk is at the frontier of the futurist conversations between aesthetics and functionality.
BYBORRE's Suit Jacket, Map Sweater and Suit Pants. The jacket and sweater utilize AO2 fabric for uniquely textured garments that additionally use different weights and types of knits placed where they make the most sense on the body.
Along with showcasing their unique fabrics, BYBORRE utilizes the seasonality of the fashion industry to continue the process of evolving the possibilities of knitwear. Furthermore, BYBORRE created a toolkit for designers that democratizes the process for all creatives. These collabs, from car seats for BMW to adidas sneakers, invite faster evolution for performance and aesthetics. BYBORRE is a fashion label that is writing a technical story and is probably the most innovative of our era. Incredibly compelling clothing in its own right, don’t be surprised to also find their tag sewn into the lining of other high-performance gear.