With the term 12 way stretch, we are focusing on a feature of our product, which is central to Mountain Force: freedom of movement. Because with us, not only the upper material is made of 4 way stretch, the elasticity is incorporated in all three layers of fabric. This means that upper material, insulation material and inner lining can all be stretched in all directions, and therefore not only allow wonderful wearing comfort, but primarily unrestricted freedom of movement.
In order to be able to implement this desired comfort consistently, Mountain Force had to become a developer itself. While elastic textiles and knits have been offered with stretch qualities for many years, it was not possible to manufacture high quality and elastic padding for a long time. This rigid padding not only limited movement, it also ripped with the duration of the strain. The "stretch gap" could only be closed to our satisfaction, thanks to cooperation between Mountain Force and a renowned padding supplier. Since then, we have been striving steadfastly to further develop new, innovative technologies, and advance our collection a little further each season.
All functional, laminated upper materials from Mountain Force are produced, dyed, printed and fitted with a ceramic membrane in Japan. This highly innovative membrane distinguishes itself through being extraordinarily light, elastic and breathable, and thereby achieves excellent waterproofing (water column: 20,000 mm).
A further strength is its climate regulating characteristic: the high tech membrane is mixed in with heat reflecting ceramic particles. These reflect the cold outwards and body heat inwards, and therefore provide an extra portion of comfort. An above average vapour permeability optimally guides the moisture away from the body, and allows a perfect interior climate to develop.
In other words, we can no longer imagine our idea of a perfect product without the ceramic membrane. This ultra-thin, highly breathable, waterproof and elastic membrane not only provides excellent functional features, but it has allowed us to realise a figure hugging, fashionable silhouette with the best thermal output, which Mountain Force stands for today.
Behind the abbreviation PCM is a groundbreaking innovation by the Swiss fabric specialist, Schoeller. Textiles with schoeller®-PCM™ contain countless tiny microcapsules, which are filled with so called Phase Change Materials (PCM). These microcapsules actively adjust temperatures that are too hot or too cold, and so they always ensure a personal comfort climate.
Technically, this happens as follows: if a defined temperature range is exceeded or fallen below, the capsules change their physical state from solid to liquid, and vice versa. If the body or ambient temperature increases, the capsules store excessive heat. If the temperature falls again, they transfer the stored heat to the body again. Schoeller®-PCM™ thereby supports the normal insulating ability of a piece of clothing in an intelligent way, by preventing overheating and cooling down equally.
Ultrasonic Welding describes a highly innovative technology, where layers of material are not bound together with needle and threat, rather the seams are welded together using ultrasound. These seams have the big advantage that the seam connection is enormously robust, and yet remains highly flexible. In addition, ultrasound welded seams do not appear bulky, guarantee full breathability, and ensure a clean looking product, as if it is made from one piece.
Polartec® Thermal Pro® materials are amongst the most technically advanced textiles from the Polartec® material family for thermal insulation. They are made of 100% polyester fibres and are ultra-light, extremely breathable, store air on the surface, and therefore offer excellent heat retention. In addition, the materials are water resistant and allow moisture to simply drip off. In contrast to the normal fleece materials, the most diverse surface structures can be realised with Polartec® Thermal Pro®, and completely new looks can be created. The best example of this: in 2014 our fashionable Fancy Jacket made of Polartec® Thermal Pro® was given the Polartec EU Apex Award 2014!
Mountain Force is amongst the few clothing manufacturers who check 100% of their materials for defects and colour fidelity before they are cut. This checking of all materials and ingredients alone takes around seven days. If deviations are found, the material goes straight back to the suppliers. Abrasion values are also tested. In this way, we guarantee a consistently high and equal quality standard for all our products.
We are also one of the very few brands that press their products during production. Particularly in the area of sports clothing, in the best case scenario the finished product is pressed. So-called intermediate pressing has long disappeared from the production process. We have revived this relic from traditional tailoring, and in this way achieve a high standard of precision, and that is the quality we stand for.
In between the individual production steps, regular sizing checks are carried out. Thereby, individual parts are measured again exactly, not only to prevent deviations within a production cycle, but also from season to season. In this way, we guarantee that the fit of our standard products also remains consistent over the years.
There are countless examples of the fact that we prioritise manual work and dexterity in the production of our collection. This starts with pattern design. Before it goes into the computer, every pattern is constructed by hand, transferred to a card, and a prototype is created. Only when the pattern is perfect, is it transferred into the computer. A Mountain Force ski jacket consists of up to 350 individual parts, which are put together in up to 1,500 work steps, which can take up to 12 working hours according to the complexity of the product. Processing our laser cut logo alone includes 12 work processes, and takes 8 to 10 minutes. This kind of delicate work is impossible with a machine, and requires a pronounced flair and a great deal of experience.
New products are always subjected to a practice test with us. To this end, the prototypes are tested on the mountain, either by us or our Mountain Force Ambassadors. The feedback from these permanent series of tests is received by our R&D department, in order to be able to continually improve our products.
Our claim of quality does not end with the finished product, because the use of our clothing should also provide pleasure for a long time. For example, our thermo lining is pre-shrunk in a special machine at 160°C before processing, so that it does not shrink and change the fit when washed. Intermediate pressing serves the same purpose: it prevents the seams from twisting after washing.
Production at the highest level
Design is important, but it would be nothing without a capable manufacturer. This is especially significant with functional clothing. Over the past few years, there have not been as many new developments regarding materials and processing methods in any other area of the clothing industry as in sports clothing. The tempo is breathtaking and a daily challenge for our team. In this permanently changing environment, experience and technical knowledge are therefore essential. For this reason, we manufacture almost 100% with our production partner, KTC Limited in China. KTC is one of the worldwide leading production operations for premium sports clothing, and has state of the art machinery. Some machines were co-developed by KTC itself. We believe KTC understands how to manufacture the most technically sophisticated and demanding functional clothing better than any other manufacturer. You can read about the meticulousness required to achieve this excellent level of quality, in the area of "precision". KTC stands for Knowledge, Technology, Craft, a canon of values which we embrace as well.
Production at fair conditions
It is not only due to the excellent work that we are impressed by KTC and proud of our collaboration - so proud in fact, that we print "made by KTC" in every one of our products. We also share the ethical attitude of the company towards its employees. The now more than 40 year old success story of the company would not have been possible, if they had not realised long ago that the best quality and willingness to innovate can only be achieved in the long term with satisfied employees. Therefore, KTC is amongst the international role models in the clothing industry in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and was the first independent production operation for sports wear worldwide to join the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and now also the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Both are internationally recognised not for profit organisations to improve the work conditions in the global clothing industry. KTC operates an open factory policy and welcomes not only journalists from all over the world, but also puts all audit reports for the above organisations on the net for the public to view. See for yourself who KTC is:
A premium brand agrees with unfair production conditions? We don't think so. If you want to be a technical and fashion leader, you can't close your eyes when it comes to production. Fortunately, we don't have to. That is why we are very grateful to have found a reliable partner in KTC Limited, which not only stands for high product quality, but also for the adherence to social standards. (You can read more about this above.) Of course we also want to pursue the same values, which is why we are also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. Wherever possible, we dedicate ourselves to improvement of the working conditions in the global clothing industry. Meanwhile Mountain Force went up to one of the few "leading members" of the Fair Wear Foundation due to its constant commitment to compliance with social standards.