Made in Minnesota

It’s a bird, It’s a Plane, It’s SuperFabric

Weaving the future with home-grown technology

By Ren Braceros

SuperFabric’s CEO and founder Young-Hwa Kim’s entry into the textile industry began as a casual conversation between peers. Kim’s colleague was a surgeon by trade and inquired whether it was possible to create a puncture-resistant glove that could be used in surgery. An alumnus of UCLA with a Ph.D. in physics, Kim has innovation sewn into his DNA. So, while at first, he deemed the feat impossible, later, when recalling the question, he felt personally challenged to test his initial response. The result was SuperFabric®, a flexible, adaptable fabric.

A product of Oakdale-based Higher Dimension Materials, SuperFabric’s technology is simple: Miniscule, solid plates — referred to as guard plates — are overlaid onto fabric in an arrangement specific to the desired attributes of the material (e.g., breathability, slash-resistant or abrasion-resistant). While the quest for an impenetrable medical glove has yet to be realized, SuperFabric materials have been incorporated into U.S. Army combat and ballistic combat shirts, as well as footwear, vehicle interiors, apparel, luggage, backpacks and outdoor gear. The company also has fans in athletes, such as two-time Olympic Gold skier Ted Ligety — who incorporated SuperFabric materials into the design of his ski gloves — and brands, such as Ferrari, The North Face, Gore-Tex and Under Armour.