Texture and textile: The fabrics of the RECARO Exo
One of the special features of the RECARO Exo is its surface: unlike many other gaming chairs on the market, it is upholstered with fabric instead of artificial leather. Salome Sämann explains the advantages of this. The RECARO expert with a flair for fabrics put in months of research before selecting the textiles for our gaming seat.
“I was always inclined towards aesthetics, even as a child—painting, dressing up, designing rooms, and so on. I was particularly fascinated by fabrics: there’s something emotional about them,” says Salome Sämann. The trained fashion designer is Corporate Merchandising Manager at RECARO and was previously responsible for the textile strategy of the RECARO Exo. In other words, Salome selected the high-quality fabrics that cover our gaming seat—a task where she was able to demonstrate her strengths to the full.
Fundamental decision: fabric vs. faux leather
The development team decided early on to use fabric for the RECARO Exo—even though the trend in the gaming chair market leans more towards faux leather made of plastic.
Salome explains why:
“It’s all due to the way the gaming seat is used and body temperature. Depending on how they play, players sometimes spend long periods sitting in front of their screens, not to mention streamers. Artificial leather simply isn’t the best material for this.”
Firstly, the plastic outer layer quickly assumes the temperature of its environment. Anyone who has ever sat in a car with leather seats in the middle of summer knows this. Such seat covers get very, very hot—and very, very cold in winter.
Secondly, people sweat. As synthetic leather cannot wick away this moisture, it encourages slipping on the seat. Ergonomically speaking, this is less than optimal. The fabrics of the RECARO Exo are therefore breathable and wick moisture away more quickly. The mesh material of the Platinum model provides additional support for this circulation, ensuring a consistently comfortable body temperature.
Salome’s intuition for fabrics
Once this fundamental question had been answered, Salome began her work by establishing the prerequisites for Exo’s fabric:
- It had to be abrasion-resistant, i.e. not wear away or wear through even in continuous use.
- It should be colorfast.
- It should not be susceptible to pilling, i.e. it should not develop fuzz or nodules during use.
- It should meet all major environmental, safety, and consumer standards, such as OEKO-TEX 100 and the EU Ecolabel, as well as being flame-retardant.
- It had to be robust and yet flexible for working with.
On the basis of this list, our expert collected a catalog of samples from textile manufacturers known throughout the industry and selected four fabrics that together make up the covering of our gaming chair. In addition, she paid attention to sustainability: where possible, the textiles are made from 100% recycled fibers. This helps to reduce the carbon footprint of our product.
A question of color
Salome also spent a lot of time choosing the colors—and for good reason: “People identify with their favorite color; it can be a means of identification and a statement.”
Salome worked her way through swatches at international fashion fairs. She researched colors that were trendy but not in danger of becoming a passing fashion fad, ultimately opting for the dignified gray shade “Shadow Grey,” the dark “Midnight” blue, and the rich “Berry Red.” Finally, the elegant turquoise was reserved for the Exo Platinum. RECARO subjected the dyed fabrics to rigorous friction and light tests as these colors should not fade even after years of continuous use.
Salome’s favorite Exo, by the way, is the Platinum model. “The connection between the color contrasts in turquoise, the anthracite of the seat, and the white back shell give the seat a technical touch. This fits perfectly with its positioning by a gaming PC or console.”