The people behind incontinence underwear brand Confitex explain how alpine ski racing led them to develop their innovative products.
This is the story of two alpine ski racers who stopped skiing and started inventing and designing knickers and briefs for people experiencing bladder control problems. The outcome was revolutionary new highly-functional, reusable and beautiful incontinence underwear.
It is the classic New Zealand story of innovation and smarts. Alpine ski racing and being trapped in spandex racing suits on a mountain led friends Mark Davey and Frantisek Riha-Scott to experience first-hand the discomfort and embarrassment of trying to hold on!
Out of this was born Confitex. Mark and Frantisek, a successful fashion designer and multi-media entrepreneur, together saw the potential for something bigger than just absorbent spandex race suits.
On the quiet, family and friends started sharing details about their incontinence issues. A taboo subject and little discussed, the skiing suits gave people the icebreaker to open up and talk about the inadequacy of existing incontinence products on the market.
From this came their purpose – to transform the lives of the one in three women and the one in ten men who suffer from what can be a hugely embarrassing and sometimes debilitating issue.
The two set out to create a range of highly functional, beautifully designed washable incontinence underwear which offered a real alternative to disposable incontinence products. It took three years of extensive – and exhaustive – research and development and trials to get to a product that met the original brief: to be fashionable, highly functional and make people feel good.
Confitex is now setting the benchmark and breaking new ground, with the idea turning into a runaway solo fashion show at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2015, the first time incontinence underwear had ever graced a catwalk in this way.
The principles of Confitex
Confitex is devoted to offering those who experience incontinence an underwear solution that allows them to live an active and fulfilling life. Everyone deserves the right to feel beautiful and confident. We believe that people with incontinence should be as free as anyone to pursue everything that inspires and stimulates them, without fear, without embarrassment and without feeling held back.
The Confitex products
Confitex underwear features revolutionary patented three-layer absorbent technology. The underwear is machine washable and reusable just like normal underwear, whilst being highly absorbent.
The quick drying inner layer rapidly transfers moisture away from the body, while the second layer is highly absorbent for maximum moisture retention. The outer layer is waterproof, stretchable, and breathable.
Confitex products are fully textile based so they look and feel just like regular underwear, and wearers can keep working, travelling, and exploring. They can handle multiple episodes during the day, and can absorb up to 100ml of liquid in one episode.
The ladies underwear range comes in three styles, while the men’s range in two styles.
Helping people with dementia
Incontinence is very common amongst those living with dementia. It can be caused by an illness like a stroke or diabetes, but can also be due to a failure to recognise the need to use the bathroom, or forgetting where the bathroom is.
Just because you or a loved one has a condition like dementia it doesn’t mean that life should stop. Whoever it is should have the opportunity to go on living a fulfilling and healthy life.
Some people who experience incontinence can use up to eight pads or nappies in one day. While the per unit cost of one of these disposable products is low, if you do use them every day and change them multiple times during the day the cost can add up very quickly.
Confitex is great for the environment. Billions of tonnes of pads and diapers are added to landfills around the world every year, and can take up to 500 years to biodegrade because of the chemicals and plastics in them. Because Confitex products are washable they last just like regular underwear.