Use Of New Fabrics In Fashion And New Textile Printing Techniques Term Paper

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History of Fashion

The history of fashion can be dated back to the development of the fashion industry in different time eras. Fashion was taken and applied in different forms depending on the situation of that era. It has been noted that clothing from the Roman and the Ancient Greek times is more dependent on the mere purpose of clothes rather than the style that was present. As it would be expected, in the olden times, clothes or fashion were merely a way of covering one's body. People did not think about the print, style or fabric when considering what they used to cover themselves. It has been seen that up till 400 A.D, clothing was never tight fitting nor was it loose or flowy. The basic idea was that drapes were used so that men and women could feel protected and secure. As it would be expected, the first materials that were used for making clothes arrived from either birds or animals. The Neanderthals for instance made use of animal pelts to keep warm. Similarly, they used leather by tanning it so it wouldn't become stiff in the cold. Wool was another sort of fabric that was used for clothes back in the Stone Age.

It has been seen that with different eras, the way of stitching clothes begin to change. The idea of changing fabrics and textiles was altered throughout the years. As it was stated earlier, flax was considered the oldest natural textile fiber present. The Egyptians are known to be the first group of people who went on to use cotton as a fiber in clothes. Along with cotton, silk is a very ancient form of fabric in the history of fashion. It has been rumored that the idea of wearing silk was initiated by the wife of the Chinese emperor who initiated it in the year 1725 BC. Therefore, the idea is that silk initially came from China when two monks went on to smuggle the seeds of the mulberry tree. It has also been stated that the Chinese were very particular about keeping silk inside the country. They tried to guard their secrets about making these fabrics for about 3000 years. The use of silk as a fabric moved from China to India and then it traveled to Japan and to the other countries all over the world.

Fashion can be divided into many different periods. These periods are termed Elizabethan, Victorian, Edwardian, Regency and so on. For instance, in the Elizabethan period, the ruffled sleeves were replaced with rather tight sleeves and they became more V shaped than before. In the Regency period, the idea of lightweight fabric was initiated. Women were more inclined towards wearing these lightweight fabrics in light colors. Usually, the waistline was defined by the use of a wide sash fixed at a bow in the back of the dress (Ventura, 1993) Wool was considered the most common and popular fabric for all the classes in the Renaissance period. Other fabrics that were made use of were hemp and linen (Koslin & Snyder, 2002) During that time, wool was available in different qualities and ranged from the rough sort to the fine dense and velvety wool. As it would be expected the price of these fabrics went onto increase as the quality increased.

Regardless of the way these clothes were stitched, it was noted that the use of linens and silk was confined to the rich class of the society. The middle and lower class were more inclined towards making use of simple clothing. It was near the 14th century that advances in tailoring and dyeing hastened the speed with which fashion spread through Europe. Therefore, it was observed that technological changes went on to equalize the perception of fashion in both the rich and the common people.

As it can be seen above, the use of clothing and drapery was altered and experimented with from time to time. It was seen that with the invention of steam-powered mechanized facilities in the
...The first man made fiber was Rayon which was created by the American Viscose Company in 1910. After Rayon, fabrics like polyester, nylon, acetate and triacetate were also introduced. It has been seen that in the recent years, the use of synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon have overridden the use of their natural counterparts (Felice) Nylon was first produced in the 1930s and it was incorporated into the production of clothes about ten years later. Spandex was introduced in the year 1959 and polypropylene was used

Polyester in Fashion

Ever since polyester was introduced it never developed a very positive rapport with those that were more particular and clothing and fashion. Later John Waters even used the word Polyester to describe a filthy state of being, in his movie titled "Polyester" released in 1981. Since then however a lot has changed regarding this particular fabric, ranging from the way in which it is produced and manufactured to the variety of uses that the material can be put to use to.

Essentially polyester is an artificial material constructed from polymers which are a kind of plastic. Polyester has several kinds; the one used for fabric is specifically the polyethylene terephthalate kind.

In the past it was polyesters' overly shiny look that made it show apparently as an unnatural material and due to the limited refinement procedures that were available, there wasn't much anyone could do about it. Today polyester can be altered to however the user desires, not only can aesthetic changes be made but the fabric can also be made more functional by making it waterproof, or breathable. Some companies manufacturing products for athletes are able to make use of antibacterial types of polyester which add an edge to their products or in some cases can be a separate product line on their own. There are so many things that can be done with polyester and the resulting fabric that it is overpowering most other fabrics in the market, due to its price. Polyester is beating the competition by being economical as it's a manufactured material, but it is also rivaling more expensive fabrics like silk, as is demonstrated by a Talbot Runhof dress that wore a price tag of nearly $10,000.

As well as the problem with the color and shine of polyester in the past, the texture of the material wasn't the most exquisite either. Modern day polyester producing firms create finer fibers of the material, which have an improved look and feel. According to designers polyester today has a better feel, and you also have to option of choosing a fabric made of the same material but with different textures. The color and texture greatly influence what a designer can do with the material, as it influences how the material behaves in different positions which again influences how it looks, completing the loop.

As there are more tools to use with polyester there are more possibilities available. One such interesting avenue that has been taken is by the Swiss brand Akris, and their 'technogrid' quilting technique. This method yields a pattern that is featured on their latest clutch collection as well as clothing.

PVC in Fashion

PVC was first used in fashion by Mary Quant in the year 1963. The basic reason that Quant was attracted toward this fabric was due it being shiny, waterproof and cheap. This fabric also became the hip thing because it gave a very space age type vibe. During that time it was seen that PVC only came in black and white. However, with more and more efforts, this material was made to be in other colors like terracotta, ginger, and mustard yellow. Quant called her new collection the wet collection and had these clothes shown in Paris. It seemed that these designers were photographed by Snowdon and they went on to win a lot of different awards. During that era, PVC did become the new thing and a lot of people were attracted to it (Jones, 2013)

Despite being very popular, there were some negative points too this fabric. For instance, it smelled like plastic and if the person sat too close to fire, it would literally start to melt. The trend and fashion of PVC began to fade out because leather started becoming cheap. It should be noted that people were still attracted to the shiny fabrics and therefore they opted for leather. Leather became cheap because new factories in China and India started producing leather as well. After that time, it was seen that PVC wear became associated with cheap and cheerful wear. It was resorted for fetish wear and the entire elegant and classy look from this material was eliminated. Due to this reason, the use of PVC really died down at that time.

Now PVC is becoming more and more common in things like…

Sources Used in Documents:


Felice, M. (2013). Materials through the ages: All dressed up - technical fabrics | IOM3: The Global Network for Materials, Minerals & Mining Professionals. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Fenton, C. (2013). Neoprene looks good in the water. This fall it looks even better on the town. - [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 5 Dec 2013].

Hemephill, S. And Suk, J. (2009). The Law, Culture, and Economics of Fashion . Stanford Law Review, 61 (5).

Jones, L. (2013). LIZ JONES FASHION THERAPY: PVC is all over the catwalks -- but can any woman look fantastic in plastic?. [online] Retrieved from: -- woman-look-fantastic-plastic.html [Accessed: 5 Dec 2013].

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