Harnessing PR to launch UYN’s new ‘AREAs’ research facility

Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to lead a selection of journalists and influencers on a trip to witness Italian sportswear brand UYN’s unveiling of their new state-of-the-art Research and Development Laboratory – AREAS. As part of this grand event, over 150 attendees from across the globe were welcomed into what UYN have coined the ‘Post Synthetic era’ which sees the ditching of synthetic materials, derived from fossil fuels, for UYN’s own bio-based materials and fibres.We were tasked with harnessing sports PR to bring a selection of 10 to 15 journalists and influencers along to cover the grand opening and profile UYN’s wider brand goals – to disrupt the sports apparel industry with sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly, high-performance sports & fitness apparel and footwear.The event was a great success, with content reaching an audience of over 5 million across press and social media, including coverage in key national consumer publications such as T3 magazine and specialist publications such as Athletics Weekly.

We stayed on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Garda, a short drive away from UYN’s parent company – Treré Innovation’s – headquarters in nearby Asola. Driving through the rolling hills and fields, it wasn’t hard to see why a brand like UYN would look to nature as the muse for their products – at every turn we were reminded of just how beautiful and impressive the natural world can be.

Once we arrived at Treré Innovation HQ, we were greeted by the friendly UYN team who gave us a tour of the grounds, providing us with unfettered behind-the-scenes access to their factory set-up and production lines. It was here that we saw their bio-based yarns being weaved together in real-time to create their seamless (literally) performance socks and baselayers, which are derived from plants such as kapok, corn, and eucalyptus.

After the tour we were treated to some lunch to soak in what we had just seen and get fuelled up for the main event – the grand opening of their Academy for Research and Engineering in Apparel and Sport (‘AREAS’). AREAS is a two-story, 3500 square metre, structure located within the grounds of Trerè Innovation HQ. This modern building is home to the company’s new research and development laboratory, an academy for scholars and young talents in the textile field, and a creative hub for product and communication design.

The unveiling was attended by representatives of several national ski teams, including from Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Spain. In addition, there were several UYN sponsored athletes in attendance including the founder of freerunning Sébastien Foucan, world record holding ultra-runner Paolo Venturini, and the equally impressive ultra-cyclist Omar De Felice.

The scientific equipment on show at the laboratory included a climate chamber (with controlled temperature and humidity), neuro-reactive treadmills developed by the Italian company Reaxing, a TITICI bike station with oscillating platforms, and the thermal manikin Hyper – a human-like robot capable of reproducing the physiological reactions of the human body thanks to 35 independent thermal zones. 

All of this came together to paint the picture of a company pushing the boundaries of sports apparel and footwear. What is even more impressive though, is that they’re doing this on more than just the performance front – they’re also paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally future for the textile industry.

UYN, a certified B Corp, also used the event to showcase the latest graduate from their AREAS centre – their brand new BioTech collection. This collection features garments made of 99%, or in some cases 100%, bio-based materials. These materials, derived from naturally occurring products, allow UYN to massively reduce their carbon footprint. Keen to reduce their impact on the planet even further, UYN also recycle 100% of their textile waste for re-use within everything from the insulation in their down jackets to the padding found in cars.

After the fascinating tour of AREAS, we were then presented with the day’s eye-catching showstopper – a mesmerising fashion show with highlights from UYN’s new BioTech collection which were made by the very machines we’d seen earlier that day. With the factory floor illuminated with a deep electric blue, the space took on a spaceship like feel and, combined with the sharp cuts and designs of UYN’s technical garments and footwear, showcased a plethora of futuristic looks and styles.

Finally, after a packed afternoon that was a feast for the senses and packed full of fascinating information and insight, it was time for another meal. With Sushi stations and chefs serving traditional Italian pasta, as well a live band playing in the background, the food on offer not only reflected UYN’s Italian roots, but also their desire to blend a variety of elements together and provide a truly unique experience.

Over food and the music, we felt inspired by what we’d heard and seen throughout the day. If it was a BioTech revolution that I was witnessing, I was excited to see what this new world has in store.

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