The energy and excitement of the fashion world is no longer limited to the runway or a designer’s new collections. Scientists have recently developed innovative textile materials that will change the future of clothing as they have benefits that go beyond style and protection from the elements.
Fashion-Meets-Innovation can be exemplified by Bolt Threads, the US startup specializing in producing eco-friendly fibers, which has created a synthetic spider silk engineered from sugar, water, and yeast. It possesses a steel-like strength, is superior in durability and elasticity and is well-suited for use in clothing, safety airbags, medical equipment, etc. Moreover, Bolt Threads has created another fabric called “Mylo”, a leather-like material grown from a dense web of mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. It looks and feels very much like leather and also is abrasion-resistant. Bolt Threads, in collaboration with Stella McCartney, the British fashion brand, launched the first eco-friendly mushroom bag. The iconic Reversible Falabella tote has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, in an exhibition Fashioned from Nature.
Meanwhile, the University of Massachusetts has found a way to stitch compact bendable batteries into clothes to power wearable storage and they are stable enough to be washed like normal clothes. The wearable fiber can produce electricity as they rub against each other. This research is being developed to make wearable health biosensor and battery charging clothes. In the meantime, Nike has launched its first self-lacing shoes, HyperAdapt 1.0, which automatically senses and adjusts to the wearer’s foot. The sneakers also come with LED lights and a built-in battery.
With such cutting-edge innovations taking on a more significant role in driving the textile industry, designers will have to adjust their marketing strategies to keep up with the consumer’s changing needs as in the future it is possible that clothes will be as smart as smartphones and offer multiple functions.