Tag Archives: T-shirt

Insta Fashion: Is it Art?

Fabrican, spray-on clothing, fashion, art, skin-tight clothing

Fabrican or fabric can't spray-on clothing

I recently came across a new form of art. Or is it a new fashion statement? In some cases it’s both or just one. NewScientist reports on a process of spray-on clothing. You’ll need to watch the video to get a good idea of the process. There is a second one of an artist working with cellulose as well. The problem with cellulose is that it swells or gets slimy once water is introduced.

The spray-on clothing is a mixture of cotton fibers, polymers and solvents. I can’t find what those polymers or solvents are made of and if this would even be a good thing to put on bare skin very often. While the experimentation is ongoing and researchers see the possibility of medical usages, such as spray-on bandages, the aspects of fashion are quite limited.

First, you would have to go into a shop or have a friend spray your clothing on. Otherwise, everything would be backless. I imagine that spraying this stuff on to any length of body hair could be problematic with removal. Considering that we’re living in a nearly hairless body era, that might not be an issue. The material can be washed and re-worn but it looks pretty fragile in maintaining its shape. I also noticed that the women were small breasted overall for the application. Does that mean that dealing with larger curves for breasts or buttocks could be an issue of tension for the fabric? Not to mention, if your breasts aren’t perky, your top will sag.

The models were all very slim and trim. I think that spraying on a T-shirt over a large beer gut might just be a bit more than anyone wants to see. And what about pants? This material gives a whole new meaning to skin-tight and indeed nothing would be left to the imagination. What I’ve seen of the styles so far are pretty basic and seems to be used in a very basic T-shirt or tank top style, so style still needs to develop.

While spray-on fabric might be useful for scientific applications or one of a kind art displays, I can’t see it catching on yet for fashion. Not until they solve the form-fitting aspect. But in the future, perhaps when we’ve deforested so much of the earth that the remaining stands of trees are protected as oxygen sources, maybe we’ll be recycling every fiber and spraying on our loincloths (what with global warming and all) and dissolving them when we need a new one. It might be the way of the future but I think we’re stuck for a while yet with clothes that cover us up. Which gives us time to all get in shape so we look good when the inevitable happens.

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The Evolution of the Suit

I noticed that there was a celebration or commiseration of the 150th anniversary of the suit recently. Well the suit did not spring full-formed from a designer’s brow a century and a half ago but was a slow evolution throughout time. In the very earliest ages of humankind people wore animal skins but learned how to weave fabric from plants and animal fur or hair.

Creative Commons--rectangular construction (Knol)

Patterning and stitching developed along the way. As you can imagine the stitch would have been pretty basic and every piece of fabric taken off the loom would have been stitched together to form a body piece and sleeves.

There were no factories and every piece had to be made from the ground up so nothing was wasted. The earliest form of sewing and patterning was called rectangular construction because it was taking all of the rectangle from the loom and using it. Men and women wore tunics. You might call them dresses today or giant T-shirts, as the T-shirt is an evolved form of rectangular construction because the sleeves are formed where they join (in some cases). Since humanity began in Africa and spread out from there the Middle East and Africa held the first developed civilizations.

By the time rectangular construction was perfected humans had been dressing themselves for thousands of years. It’s hard to say exactly when this actually started because fabric tends to rot away. Only the earliest images on stone give us an idea of what the Egyptians, Babylonians and Sumerians were wearing.

Thorsberg Tunic

For outer wear in the colder climes people wore mantles, a rectangle of wool or fur or other heavy warm fabric. This eventually evolved into the cape, a shaped half circle or full circle cloak. However, at the same time the cultures that spent a lot of time in snow or on the steppes did develop coats. The Norse had coats and pants such as the 4th  century Thorsberg coat depicted to the right. The button, as a fastening came along around the 13th century. Before that, lacing, and pins of elaborate construction were used for closings.

But these were all coats, whether Norse, Persian or Mongolian. Cutting and patterning techniques became very elaborate; weaves as well continued to become refined. There is debate that we’ve lost some of the techniques shown in paintings of the Middle Ages, such as veils so thin that they were nearly invisible. Out of the Elizabethan era of the 1600s men were wearing doublets. On colder days, capes were thrown over these. By the Baroque and Rococo periods (which refers to art more than fashion) of the late 1600s to early 1700s elaborate doublets and coats of brocade were common. Overcoats became common as the swords slimmed down to the rapier blade, and muskets came to the fore. This is probably the true beginning of the suit, a doublet with a matching coat that is longer over top.

Van Dyck--example of doublet and coat.

Slowly over the next hundred years this turned into the coat and tails with a vest beneath the coat. Although the era of Louis XIV brought the froofroo lace and brocade to a height, and ostentation was part of the game, warmth also played a part. The ostentation carried over so that class was always shown by the cut of the cloth, the expense of the material and the dyes, and the ornamentation. As the more staid Regency and Victorian eras came around men (who once had been brighter peacocks than women in fashion) still needed to show their status. The more layers to your suit, the more high up you were.

Thus was modern the suit born. So, in the essence of the modern suit consisting of jacket and matching pants, and perhaps a vest, this did begin in the 1800s but as you can see it was a long evolution from a garment worn for warmth to one of nearly pure status. Status to depict class or responsibility or competence. Lawyers rarely wear T-shirts and cowboy boots in the courtroom or to meet clients. This description here is a gloss of the history of the suit but it gives you an idea of how fashion changes. Other influences can be political, economic or geographic. But in the end, it is what humans consider fashionable that makes the trend.

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