Why is fabric so important?
How have fabrics changed?
Types of fabric
Gill fabric system
Each and every Gill product is rigorously tested. In our lab. On the water. To the extremes. For us, every component has to be up to scratch. Right down to the last stitch. Which is why we scour the globe for the finest materials. Then, test their integrity to the absolute limit. We age them. Rip them. Tear, pull and sand them.
We even wash test the wash labels. Just to be sure.
There are two key elements to sailing clothing. The garment design and the fabric itself. The fabric represents over 50% of the cost of the garment. If that fails, so does the garment. The best-looking gear in the world's not much help when you're battling into a westerly gale and soaking wet.
In 2002 we took the decision to move away from high profile branded fabrics. Not only were they adding significantly to the cost, but they also limited the choice of materials we could use. Most branded waterproof fabrics were originally developed for the larger outdoor clothing industry, so when it came to introducing sailing wear fabrics the choice was limited.
We wanted the ability to adapt fabrics specifically for the marine environment. If you are out walking and it rains you can only get wet from above. When you are sailing, water is coming at you from all angles. Spray or solid waves are coming over the bow, you are sitting in water and it could be raining as well. Then there is the water itself, in most cases it is salt water. Salt water molecules have a much larger surface area than fresh water and have an abrasive property with it. Off the shelf fabrics are not going to do the job as well as specifically adapted materials.
Working directly with different fabric suppliers and coaters we can keep adapting the fabric until it passes all our stringent tests. If the water resistance is not high enough after artificial ageing we can add another layer. If the abrasion resistance on the outside is not good enough we can change that too.