Friday, 22 June 2018

Suits of the future: How Is Technology Influencing Our Tailoring?

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It’s said that a gentleman called Beau Brummell started the suit we know and love today in the early 1800s.

He wore the classic suit jacket with full-length trousers which replaced the old long-tailed coats and silk stockings. But as we’re faced with new challenges such as the lengthy daily commute and as we strive to cut out the time consuming activities which ironing a suit would fit into, what does the future hold for tailoring? Retailors of the morning suit, investigate:

Past Innovations

Shirt technology has certainly transformed over the years and one of the latest innovations has been temperature adjusting materials. This works, in most cases, by controlling the body heat of the wearer. Researchers across the US developed clothing that changes how much radiation escapes from the shirt and how easily air can circulate around the body. Heat controlling technology in clothing isn’t a brand new creation however, it’s just came into circulation in recent years as wearable clothing when it was once reserved for people in space. This sort of technology not only improves comfort levels for the wearer but can potentially have knock on positive effects on the environment. Air con accounts for 13% of energy in the US. If our shirts become temperature regulated then it is possible we will be in lower need of constant AC — reducing our carbon footprint so we all benefit!

Non-iron shirts are more than convenient. The technology behind the non-iron shirt includes a process that strengthens the fabric, preventing the molecules from moving as much and increasing its resistance to creasing. So you can enjoy an extra 10 minutes in bed as all you have to do is pull your work shirt out of the dryer and put it on — wrinkle free and no need to haul out the ironing board.

Moving freely in our suits is certainly a key factor. Especially when sitting in the same place for a long duration of time, such as at a desk, out for dinner or on your way to work. This is where the latest mechanical stretch technology comes in to play. This technology utilises the materials of the suit so that it can improve flexibility. Some suit jackets and shirts achieve this stretch through incorporating a small percentage of elastane in the fabric and this is enough to enhance the comfort of the garment.

Future Innovations

Wearable payment gadgets are something that researchers and corporations are spending a lot of time exploring. We already have the likes of paying by phone or smart watch via contactless but that is not enough! MasterCard paired with fashion designer Adam Selman to explore the idea of inserting a microchip into clothing, perhaps in the sleeve of a jacket or into a bag — which allows you to pay for items with even less effort. This concept could have some effect on the tailoring trends things like cuff links and pockets could become payment devices.

Multiple suit buying of the same colour is a thing of the past, colour-changing fabrics are here to shake up the fashion industry. The research behind it is ever advancing and there are a few ongoing projects developing the idea. One of the projects which was explored by scientists at the University of Michigan, is looking into incorporating tiny crystals in the fabric that react according to the wavelength of light. This affects the crystal’s formation and how they look in terms of colour to others. Other research, carried out in Montreal, is investigating how electricity from human movement can power electric fabric and change its colour. The research is paving its way into the future of colour-changing materials in the future however it’s still a long way off from being on the high streets just yet.

If you’re looking for a high quality, tailored suit they can be quite highly priced and a lot of people take pride in keeping it in good nick. It is then unsettling when a sleeve is caught on a door handle or on something sharp and the material is damaged. Addressing this issue is the latest technology of self-healing fabric, this works by putting regular fabric in a special solution so that, when ripped, it’s able to melt back together at low temperatures. Other research has founded that E. coli bacteria has self-replicating properties and this is being explored in order to discover if it can be used to knit broken fabric back together.

From past to future innovations, it’s clear to see that our wardrobes aren’t what they used to be. Many developments are being made in order to make our lives easier and further enhance our suits to meet our highly digital and busy lifestyles.