Suits glue: Fashion in a can

First the world gave us the wonder that is spray on cheese, now it’s the turn of spray on clothes.

Yes, thanks to the wonderful world of polymers and the scientific fashionista that is Manel Torres (of Imperial College London) the concept of ironing is yet another inconvenient 20th century pastime we can resign to history.

No more rummaging around looking for suitable clothes, bleary-eyed when your alarm goes. Now you can simply pick up an aerosol and spray on an entire suit. Well, maybe not an entire suit, but the possibilities are certainly interesting.

The new spray-on fabric – as constructed by a company aptly named Fabrican – will be displayed at a ‘Science in Style’ fashion show at Imperial College next week.

Having had another life as a textile designer, and having toyed with far more ancient forms of fabric binding (namely felting and weaving) I understand that the principle of attaching fibers together is not an unusual one. However, the immediacy element used here is and this innovation should have plenty of application potential, not just within fashion.

Anyone who’s spent some time dealing with textiles in a student capacity - and the arduous task of baking pigment on cloth or steaming dyes – will know that binding anything together is the trade off for creativity. Fabrican isn’t the user-friendliest product right now. There’s going to be a heavy odour of solvent (which is used to bind the material), something Torres is hopeful he can reduce with more experimentation.

So what does this all mean for brands? Well at this stage it’s more of a gimmick than a functioning service, but the novelty of the product could be harnessed in a number of experiential ways.

Firstly, a company such as Lynx/Axe, with its overtly sexual overtones and strong aerosol focus, could strike strong links with the concept of spray on clothing (perhaps a ‘turn up in your underwear and we’ll spray on your clothes’ live event). There is a possibility a scent could even be built into the product itself.  Or maybe a fashion or sportswear brand could opt for a more artistic representation of its individualised creativity, pushing the idea that their clothes, which act as virtual skin, are at one with the user

The only slight downside to all this is the environmental impact it may cause. Plus, if you thought seeing girls hastily applying their make-up on the train on the way to work was distracting…

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