Editorial: Spraying Fashion

Oct 28 2013, 02:53 IST
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SummarySpray-on clothing is here, viable and safe. It also has great potential in medicine, apart from fashion

They say fashion moves in cycles, with trends becoming a rage, declining in popularity and then rising to prominence once again several decades later. However, sometimes technology allows for innovations in fashion that are entirely new, with no bearing in the past. And that’s what seems to be happening now. A fashion designer in the UK teamed up with a chemical engineering professor to create real, viable spray-on clothing. All you need to do with Fabrican, as they call it, is spray it on naked skin and voila: you are clothed. Fabrican’s formula consists of short fabrics held together by polymers and a solvent that renders the fabric into liquid form. Within seconds of spraying it on your skin, the fabric becomes solid. The actual substances used are not very different from what are already present in synthetic clothing, and so they don’t pose any health risks. According to the inventors, the characteristics of the clothing, such as strength, texture and flexibility, depend on the type of fibers used in the solution—natural fibers like wool, cotton, silk and cellulose are available, as are synthetic ones like nylon. And, if you live in cold place, simply spray on more layers to make your clothing thicker.

Now, the possibilities in the fashion industry seem endless, but the spray-on method is so useful that it is being looked at by the UK military and several car makers to meet their needs. The UK military is already working on prototypes for spray-on plaster casts and bandages—the advantage being that the material is sterile when sprayed. Spray-on clothes may yet be a few years away, but the inventors see smaller items like sprayed towels and napkins reaching the market quite soon.

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