Clothing that shoots out of an aerosol can may sound like science fiction, but one Spanish designer-with-a-PhD has managed to pull off the world’s first spray-on garments that can be removed, washed, worn again, or dissolved to make new ones. Manel Torres, a former student of the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, took 15 minutes to spray a skintight T-shirt on a male model at a demonstration on Thursday, in advance of his Science in Style spray-on fashion show this week.
Torres started toying with sprayable clothing 10 years ago, after he saw people playing with silly string at a wedding. After perfecting a formula with the help of Paul Luckham, a professor of particle technology at Imperial, Torres patented his Fabrican technology with the goal of not only creating bespoke clothing quickly and inexpensively, but also to provide new applications for the medical, transport, and chemical industries.
Spray-on fabric could also provide new applications for the medical and chemical industries
One possibility, according to Luckham, is pre-sterilized gauze for accident victims. “The spray-on fabric may be produced and kept in a sterilised can,” he tells the Guardian, “which could be perfect for providing spray-on bandages without applying any pressure for soothing burnt skin, or delivering medicines directly to a wound.”
CLOTHING ON DEMAND
Torres and Luckham mixed fibers from milled-down old textiles with a polymer, then added a solvent that would evaporate before the spray hit a surface and solidified. The resultant fabric feels almost like suede, but you can alter its hand by changing its fiber content from say, wool to linen.
The fabric is formed by the cross-linking of fibers, much like felted wool, so no finishing is required.
Because the fabric is formed by the cross-linking of fibers, much like felted wool, no weaving or finishing is required. Plus, the high-pressure spray dries within minutes, and if the material rips or doesn’t fit right, it can be dissolved and reworked into new garments.
Although Fabrican isn’t ready to be commercialized just yet, the possibilities are staggering, from Lady Gaga’s latest eccentric ensemble to spray-on upholstery for cars and homes. Just one downside: The fabric when it meets the skin is very cold, so if you’re planning on donning the ultimate skinny jean or curve-cleaving swimsuit, you’d best brace yourself.