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Hold onto Your Tagging Guns: The Future of Textiles, Part Two
Montag, Dez. 6, 2010, 09:33
In light of a dense and omnipresent wave of technology whose purpose is to make our lives more efficient and more affordable, one often wonders what fashion is currently contributing to this mode of forward thinking. General sentiment among the fashion industry indicates it is movements towards sustainability that are the marks of modern accomplishment -- but this has to do with reinventing how traditional materials are sourced, created and distributed. So what’s to be reported on the invention of entirely new materials and fashion concepts? In this piece, we investigate some of science’s most powerful recent contributions to fashion industry potential.
This year, Suzanne Lee, a resident researcher at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, invented an entirely new material made from the bacteria that is traditionally used to ferment green tea into kombucha. The bacteria produce a layer of cellulose as they digest their sugars, which Lee then harvests and dries into layers. The result is a texture similar to that of skin, which can be molded or sewn onto preexisting garments as an embellishment. The material’s only major obvious flaw is that it becomes heavy and gooey when wet, as it absorbs 98% of its weight in moisture. Alexander Bismark, a chemical-engineering professor at Imperial College London, is in the process of developing water-repellent culture to coat the layer with so that this currently unnamed material might be workable worldwide.
Joining a roster including cheese and hair, cloth is the most recent and exciting item to be added to the list of unexpected things that come from a spray can. A British company called Fabrican has developed the technology to spray textiles directly only a body or form by bonding, then liquefying, fibrous particles. When the solvent evaporates, the fibres bond, and the result is a bespoke garment.
Maison Martin Margiela, in its time-honored tradition of building highly innovative couture from unimaginable materials, has constructed a coat from 29,000 plastic price-tag fasteners. While the length of the fasteners gives the coat a wild, unkempt look, each one is carefully embroidered into its rightful place in a herringbone pattern printed onto leather. The coat, which took 42 hours to assemble, is meant to be a statement about sustainability, as the tags are meant to resemble faux fur. A garment that takes days to construct and is made from unconventional bits is to be honoured as the pinnacle of sustainable creation. Matilda McQuaid, a curator at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, said of the coat, “[It’s] done with humor…we need to stop and think about what we immediately discard.”
Woolfiller, the creation of Netherland-born Heleen Kloppner, is science’s answer to the moth-eaten holey sweater. Simply take the Woolfiller hooked felting needle and special wool through the wool of the sweater under repair. By doing this repeatedly, the sweater’s wool fibers bind together and create a felt patch. Kloppner originally designed Woolfiller for an interactive sustainability exhibit, but to fulfill overwhelming demand, she had to patent it as a product, and good thing too, as it certainly fills a gaping (no pun intended) hole in the market. Kloppner has been quoted as saying that she’s come to see moths as design collaborators, a welcome opportunity to alter a garment aesthetically—in terms of hue and texture—in a way one might not have otherwise imagined.
Last year, Arena, an Italian waterwear brand, dressed Germany-born Paul Biedermann and brought him to victory against Michael Phelps, who was Olympic champion at the time. The Powerskin X-Glide racing suit has a light, polymeric surface that traps air, making a swimmer more buoyant in the water. This increases speed and lessens density, allowing for speed and grace at a near-superhuman degree. The suit is so effective, in fact, that it and all suits made from plastics have been banned from international competition, having been determined as providing an unfair advantage.
Perhaps the strangest of the inventions we’ve covered here, and that with the greatest eye towards advanced science, is the HRP-4C robot model. Weighing in at 95 pounds (43 kilograms), the model stands at only 5 feet, 2 inches (1.6 metres). But what it lacks in supermodel height, the HRP-4C has in efficiency. Last March in Japan, the robot modelled a wedding dress by Yumi Katsura. Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology are the brains behind this fashion milestone, which cost $2 million. Equipped with human-esque features and sound-recognition sensors, the HRP-4C could be a threat to the modeling industry, but with an expected retail price of $200,000, we may not have to worry about job-loss just yet.
To read part one of the Future of Textiles, click here.
Samantha Garfield | TribaSpace
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Creation, Textiles, Fabrics, Production, Media
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