A leading US-based fleece manufacturer has unveiled an innovative new product that it hopes will be the hottest garment in shops this Christmas – heated jackets that provide the wearer with warmth from light-weight batteries.Malden Mills has begun using “conductive fibres” in its fleece jackets powered by two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that last around five hours and are sewn into waist pockets with a small control switch sewn into the chest pocket.Priced at $499 and weighing around 20 ounces, the high-tech jackets cost about three times more then traditional all-fleece jackets and are being sold by Malden Mills’ commercial partner, The North Face – part of the VF Corporation.Company chiefs say if the new hooded jackets are a success then they may introduce heated gloves and vests. The firm is promoting the jackets in its advertisements with the slogan: “Be the first to say, ‘Wait, let me turn on my jacket’.”The new fibres are identical to those woven into a new range of electric blankets by Malden Mills’ other commercial partner, Lands’ End. With the launch of these two new products, the Massachusetts-based manufacturer hopes to boost its revenue from the $262 million forecast for the current fiscal year and stay one step ahead of rival Asian factories which supply the majority of the fleece sold by retailers such as Gap.