FTC Recognizes New Fiber for Fabric Used in Swimsuits & Other Stretchy Garments

"Elastoester" Permitted in Fiber Content Labels Immediately

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has adopted the new name "elastoester" for a fiber used mostly in sportswear, including swimsuits, cycling shorts and ski pants. Elastoester is similar to polyester, but different enough physically to warrant a new generic name under the FTC’s Textile Labeling Rules. In making this determination, the FTC has granted the petition of Teijin Limited, an Osaka, Japan-based company that manufactures the new fiber under the trade name "REXE." The FTC action means that, effective immediately, companies must use "elastoester" to identify this fiber on the required fabric content labels on garments they manufacture.

According to a notice the FTC placed in today’s Federal Register, elastoester is stretchy like spandex, readily washable, and can withstand high temperatures when wet. As a result, it retains dyes better than fabrics made of nylon and spandex and is less likely to be discolored or adversely affected by chlorine, an important characteristic for swimming suits.

Federal law, the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, requires manufacturers to use the generic names of the fibers contained in their textile products in the fiber content labels on those products. The FTC’s Textile Rules, promulgated pursuant to the Act, establish the process a manufacturer must follow to request the FTC to adopt a new generic fiber name. In October 1992, Teijin petitioned the FTC to add a new fiber name and definition to the Rules’ list of approved generic names, which include polyester, spandex and nylon, among many others. As an interim response, the FTC granted Teijin a temporary designation for use in marketing the fiber. The Commission then announced for public comment a proposal to add a new generic fiber name -- the three suggested by Teijin were "polyetherester," "elastoester," and "estelast" -- and a definition to the list. The FTC selected elastoester because it communicates the elasticity of the fiber as well as its polyester-like qualities, "which would tend to make purchasing decisions easier" for consumers.

The Commission vote to grant the petition was 5-0.

Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.


(FTC File No. P974225)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Bonnie Jansen or Victoria Streitfeld
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161 or 202-326-2180
Staff Contact:
James Mills or Mary K. Engle
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3035 or 202-326-3161