Fabrics and textiles are sensual to eye and touch.
Glorious colors and tactile sensations of rough and smooth, mohair to silk, weave their own special spell.
Some engineered fabrics and textiles did not exist even a decade ago. Wearables -- clothing with computer receptivity -- is where the action is when it comes to research.
Here are some of the benefits of 21st century engineered fibers:
- Some keep us warmer but are lighter in weight.
- Flame-resistant fabrics protect our children.
- Anti-microbial fabrics resist odor-causing germs.
Fabric of the future may kill viruses before they have a chance to infect us.
Olivia Ong, a senior design major at Cornell University in 2006, debuted a two-tone gold dress. Popular Science magazine reported that the metallic sheen was the result of anti-microbial nano technology (Oct. 2007) .
Nano, in case you are wondering, means very, very small.
Kimbrough explains that nano technology "permanently attaches nano-scale molecules to individual fabric fibers engineering lasting performance into the garment” (Uniforms magazine, July/Aug. 2007).
Contemporary women's silk clothing makes this sought-after luxury fabric more affordable than ever.
The sensual feel of this fabric is so unique that its name defines a tactile quality: silky.
Upper-class Europeans even outlawed silk clothing for lesser people during the 1500s-1600s.
Womens silk clothing has offered luxury and refinement for centuries.
Satin, a heavier form of silk now recreated synthetically, is ideal for a satin blouse to spruce up a professional suit.
Cotton was king of the economy in the antebellum south, and it remains the most beloved among fabrics and textiles.
A little bit of Dacron or Spandex in a cotton garment makes it wrinkle resistant and garments better-fitting than ever before.
Cute T-shirts offer the ultimate in affordability and comfort.
Organic cotton and eco-blend cottons are growing in importance.
Organic cotton fabric is more expensive because the plant is attacked by so many insects and diseases who seem to love the soft cotton boll as much as us humans.
Denim is a form of cotton twill that is known is every country in the world, according to the sources for this history of jeans and denim, part 1 and part two, examining the cultural meanings of this universal fabric.
Seersucker cotton clothing has a surprisingly long history and has been prized as a summer-fashion fabric since the 14th century.
The natural wrinkles that are woven into seersucker fabric feel cooler against the skin.
Cotton comes in many varieties -- denim and twill, poplin and guaze, knit and woven. Increasingly, synthetic fibers are blended with cotton or replace it with look-alike fibers. So be sure to read labels in you want natural cotton.
One thing is certain -- the popularity of women's cotton clothing suggests that cotton will be king of fabrics and textiles forever.
Historical sources agree that khaki fabric originated when British soldiers, colonizing India, started dying white uniforms a more durable dusty color.
Khaki became so popular that the word is used for both a color (or a range of colors) and a type of fabric -- cotton twill.
Today's best khaki clothing may be cotton or a fancy blend, such as silk-linen, in one of a range of beige colors that are popularly called khaki.
Bamboo fabric is giving organic cotton as run for its money.
This fabric is made from an easily renewable resource -- the bamboo plant.
It's hard to believe that the same stuff that makes hard wood floors can be processed into a fabric as soft as cashmere wool, fabled for its luxurious feel.
If you pride yourself on being a green shopper, you will want to read about how bamboo fiber is processed into cloth.
Tropical print dresses and shirts are colorful and playful resort wear.
The history of how Hawaiian-type prints became a part of the history of fabrics and textiles is a story in itself. Bird print fabric dresses and casual outfits are a fresh spin on this classic.
Leopard print clothing and faux animal prints are fun, chic, and trendy.
Snakeskin is emerging as a current favorite, after several years of leopards, tigers, zebras and even giraffe prints.
Animal skins have been stylish for at least a hundred years. Early slaughter took a toll on our environment.
Today, faux prints is a great way to have fun with fashion without endangering wildlife.
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