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Ably Apparel Clothing Is Almost Impossible to Get Wet or Dirty

Ably Apparel makes clothing that simply doesn’t get wet. When I got my first shirt from them, I literally stuck it under the kitchen tap and turned the water on full blast, eager to put this claim to the test. This turned out to be a mistake, as the water that sprayed off the cloth and soaked the counters, floor, and my pants, but it was worth it in the name of science.

And what is the trick behind these hoodies, tees, pants, shorts, button-downs, and dresses that so readily repel water?

Ably uses fabrics that undergo a Filium activation process during which the fabric fibers are coated with a highly water-repellent material. The clothes are still almost the same as regular old clothing but act more like a plastic. If you want to understand the science on a deeper level, you’ll need to get a job working for Filium or else get ready to commit some intellectual property theft, because they guard their trade secrets closely.

Suffice it to say that Filium activated fabrics shed water almost as well as a plastic or vinyl, and they dry almost twice as fast as other fabrics if submerged or exposed to enough water to saturate, such as you would encounter, say, in a hurricane.

Steven John/The Manual

But what are the practical benefits of liquid-repelling clothes? Oh, they are many.

First, if you’re prone to frequent spills or you hang out with clumsy folks like a small child or Hank the IT guy, you will never have to change your Ably pants or shirt after spilled coffee, coke, cranberry juice, or liquids that don’t start with the letter C. In fact, Ably garments basically can’t be stained (even by the dreaded ketchup or mustard spill) so they look good all day long and even require less washing. And by repelling sweat, they stay fresh smelling, too, which makes Ably clothes ideal for travel.

From a technical standpoint, water-repellent apparel gives you the edge: Ably clothes maximize the evaporative cooling effect sweating is meant to create in the first place.

Repelled sweat also means less odor, which is but one reason Ably’s line of workout gear is a great choice, especially for those of us who exercise in busy gyms in close proximity to other noses. But from a technical standpoint, water- and sweat-repellent apparel also gives you the edge: by not saturating and holding sweat in, Ably clothes maximize the evaporative cooling effect sweating is meant to create in the first place. Also, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never enjoyed that huge, damp, clingy sweat patch around my neck and chest all that much anyway.

I will say that my two cotton Ably shirts feel a bit different than most cotton clothing I’ve worn. They are soft and flexible and more than comfortable enough for all-day wear, but the fabric isn’t quite as smooth as non-treated high-quality cotton. Thus I don’t wear these shirts every day, not when I’m just working or sticking close to home. But for travel or for long days on the go, I often turn to a shirt I basically can’t get dirty, that releases sweat and keeps me cool, and that won’t stink, either.

You can check out all of Ably’s collections


Steven John
Steven John is a writer and journalist living just outside New York City, by way of 12 years in Los Angeles, by way of…
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