Thinking Outside the Box

I am in the fabric business and have been watching it change. Fabric is versatile these days and has the most amazing new properties. It can be rubberized, texturized, or otherwise become indestructible.  Even conventional fabric lasts longer, helps garments fit better, and allows for more effective care. Thanks to technological advancements in the field of textiles, clothing manufacturing has been revolutionized. Silk, cotton and wool are no longer the staples of the industry.

I love to challenge myself, and my staff, to use newer concoctions like the innovative space age synthetics. We need to think outside the box to become more innovative and forward looking. We should be the barometers of the future. You can no longer get ahead by staying in the past. This is what is so great about the current state of affairs in the world of fabric.

Along these lines, I recently asked everyone to make an item of clothing out of anything but fabric, like one of Project Runway’s unconventional challenges. I love to see creativity at work was excited to see the results. It was not unexpected to see the use of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, metal mesh webbing and string. The problem was that most of the items were not very attractive or wearable. You could destroy them with a touch. I wanted some real solutions that were permanent, although maintenance free. I wanted something pleasing to the eye and the mind.

Finally, after a few valiant efforts, one person rose to the challenge. He cleverly used shredded documents from here to produce a cool skirt that could be classified as a novel kind of knitwear. Shredded paper has a great texture and superb durability. You can pull it to make it stretch and restore any loss of shape easily. It is a clever approach to modern fabric that may have some serious repercussions for the industry. And don’t we all have tons of paper lying around! Now you just need a shredder and you are on your way to an exciting  trend in fashion. This is how it all starts. Sometimes it is an accident and a quirk of fate. We will have to work it out economically. Yes, it is all about profit.

The question is how to produce a clothing line out of a labor-intense “fabric” and make it in volume for the ready-to-wear market. Paper can be waterproofed when coated and cleanable with simple soap and water. It is cheap and doesn’t consume horrendous amounts of energy to produce. Of course, paper comes from trees and we all know about forest depletion. The next task at hand is to make synthetic paper that can then be shredded to become suitable for clothing production. We don’t want to sacrifice our natural resources to clothe ourselves. We have relied on wood pulp far too long.