When most people think of modern technological innovations, the first things that often come to mind are advances in computers and communication devices. Clothing, however, has taken great technological strides in its production and influence in the fashion world. Factories largely replaced homemade clothing, while man-made products and inventions (like the zipper) changed the use of modern clothes.
Digital Textile Printing
Eliminating the need to embroider or paint patterns onto clothes, digital textile printing is the latest way a business and consumer can customize clothes. This type of fabric printing allows for small-quantity production, which is highly sought by well-known fashion designers and companies to create high-demand, brand name clothing without a lot of waste. Digital textile printing is capable of producing photo-quality images onto fabric and reproductions of hand-painted art to use for clothes.
The synthetic fibers that form elastane (also known as “Spandex”) are popular for their elasticity and durability. An anagram of the word “expands,” Spandex revolutionized the clothing world. Clothes that may contain Spandex include pants, wetsuits, bathing suits, underwear, hosiery, activewear and shapewear. Athletes who need form-fitting clothes that do not constrict their movements often wear this material.
Formotion Clothing Technology
Formotion technology combines different types of fabric to create clothing that will enhance the performance of athletes. Clothes with this technology use compression fabrics to provide control. Specific, sculpted cuts of fabric allow for complete range of motion. Formotion clothes also integrate technologies that regulate an athlete’s body temperature so they stay cooler while they sweat.
Fire-Resistant, Sweat-Wicking Clothes
Clothing used for safety purposes have combined fire-resistant materials with those that help the user stay cool without the use of added harmful chemicals. DRIFIRE clothes—used by firefighters, welders and those working around open flames—are designed to provide comfort. The material wicks sweat and moisture off the body and reduces the chances of heat stroke and steam burns. The built-in, flame-resistant materials do not melt in extreme heats and protect the skin against flash fires and electric arc flashes.
Aerogel, also called “frozen smoke,” is the lightest solid material in existence. NASA, to insulate space suits and the Mars Rover, uses Aerogel. Also used as a drug-delivery system, insulation for skylights and to trap space dust, Aerogel introduced itself to the consumer market with the invention of the “Supersuit”: a jacket that is as thin as a T-shirt yet still keeps individuals warm in subzero temperatures.
References and ResourcesHanesbrand: Champion Supersuit Press Release
DRIFIRE: Redefining Comfort in Flame Resistant Apparel with Wicking Clothing
Gizmag: Adidas Formotion clothing technology
Chemical and Engineer News: What's That Stuff?
Ink Drop Printing: Digital Textile Printing