The strange, the unconventional, the surprising, the neverbefore-seen – isn’t that what fashion seekers are hunting for, season after season? And this season designers have not disappointed, bringing on board some fabric choices which are far from being called conventional. Be it cellophane, clear PVC, metallic coated canvas/denim, 3D fabric or burnished leather, fabrics of these sorts have always been put to use in developing accessories, shoes and bags. Usage of the same in RTW garments is a new area being explored lately, where every second designer is trying to mould these fabrics in their unique ways. Exporters witnessing these appearances are knowingly and unknowingly using fabrics which can mimic these fabrics to the closest possible variant translating styles into more commercially viable pieces…
Innovation in fashion has many facets: shaping a new silhouette, a particular mood or a new style, but the originality of the materials plays the most significant role. What would Margiela be without his Artisanal line, Paco Rabanne without the metallic disc net or Iris Van Herpen without her 3D printed structures? Be it futuristic materials produced with advanced technologies, recycled fabrics or some odd surfaces picked from somewhere, it is obvious that everything new and unexpected delights the fashion audience and buyers. Pieces made from alternative fabrics can seem difficult to wear, but some might find a special place in our closets. Designing the fabric or its surface is a key moment in product design, presently. Some fabrics are designed starting with the thread; others are defined by a particular finishing or receive postproduction treatments.
Recently, Rochas delivered a fresh look showing some PVC coated trench and trousers in the S/S ’16 collection. Neoprene, initially designed for industrial applications, has ultimately got adopted in fashion and designers like Junya Watanabe, Proenza Schouler, Calvin Klein, Comme Des Garçons, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Raf Simons and J.W.Anderson, are seen exploiting the medium to the fullest. We cannot ignore the designers’ appetite for nonwoven fabrics (felt, neoprene or various types of industrial foams), plastics (latex, silicone, cellophane) and metallic (laces and embroideries with metallic thread, wire links, aluminium plates).
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It seems that the future of these amazing fabrics is intertwined with new technologies and the following fabrics are just the starting of newness being imparted in the apparel development scenario. The reoccurring appearance of these unconventional fabrics on runways prove the trend to be at a growing stage which will in its own pace trickle to reach the retail sector in its own distinctive version.These are the influences which will make a big difference in the upcoming collections of the exporters, as they try and re-create the similar aesthetics with local fabrics, leading to innovation. Natural fabrics (silk, cotton, wool, leather) are liquid, metallic, or plastic coated, trench coats are expertly laminated with metallic foil, waterproof laminated laces are superimposed on jerseys and nylon organza is used as replacements to cellophane and plastic. Designers like Christopher Kane are renowned for unusual combination of materials, which ensure a successful track record on the runways. Designers have experimented with the most inventive mixes: neon laces, jelly bows, gorilla prints, rubber screws, liquid filled plastics and black tapes paired up with Swarovski elements. And mimicking the same, exporters are using locally made crochet pieces, coated fabrics, hot spangle sequin technique, PVC coated denims etc. for the same appeal.
Designers continue to pillage the 80’s archive in order to inform today’s trends. Loewe and Maison Martin Margiela showed tailored separates in a cellophane type fabric. The material looked exactly like the cellophane stick tape, shiny, plastic and clear. To achieve a similar effect, nylon organza fabrics can be used, which at a cheaper rate will give out a more mass accepted style. While organza has traditionally been used on fancy ball gowns, lately we’ve seen it acting as a see-through detail on modern designs and minimalistic pieces. Fast Fashion stores like Vero Moda and Zara are seen offering dresses with a sheer organza skirts and capes. Rajesh Kumat, Director, Ganga, exporter of readymade garments shares, “We are experimenting a lot with fabrics to go with our USP, which is thread embroidery. We are using sheers like organza which is shiny in nature with matte cottons to achieve a unique look.”
[bleft]Be it futuristic materials produced with advanced technologies, recycled fabrics or some odd surfaces picked from somewhere, it is obvious that everything new and unexpected delights the fashion audience and buyers. Pieces made from alternative fabrics can seem difficult to wear, but some might find a special place in our closets.[/bleft]
These shiny fabrics project a refined merger of technology and functionality. Designers have put the pedal to the metal, increasing the mirror metallic finishes and iridescent coatings. Designers displayed their interpretation of this trend on the ramp at S/S ’16 runways in matte, glossy and metallic finishes, illustrated in countless possibilities. Starting with separates, which received distinct coating treatments, Rochas, Isabel Marant and Maison Martin Margiela presented an amalgamation of glossy PVC finished panels. This fabric appeared as if a separate layer of plastic was imposed unto them to create an ultra-shiny surface.
Exporters or fabric manufacturers can create the similar effect through coating treatments. Created either by dipping the fabric in the coating liquid, pressing with transfer papers, screen printing or by machine, coating can give a flattering urban look to the garments by completely changing the natural look of the fabric. Noureddine Elatouga, Representative, Maple Solutions, producers and suppliers of chemicals in textile wet processing, explaining about the various fabric effects achieved through coating says, “Acrylic and PU coatings provide a transparent look to the fabric with a laminated finish. These coatings provide optical reflective effects and tinted glazes like mirrors and in some recent developments, denim manufacturers are producing denims with coating on the reverse-side, as well.”
Cheap is finally chic this season as designers have gone crazy over plastic for apparel development. Admittedly the trend isn’t new – plastic has been used to create accessories for years now – but this season’s apparel creations in plastic are super fun and playful making them a ‘must have’ on every designer’s wish list. Perhaps designers were looking to the future with their unique creations, or maybe they were trying to make a statement about the importance of environmentalism, whatever the reason the outcome is appealing. Piyush Gattani, Owner, R. P. Industries, building further on the thought says, “The plastic trend took the runways by storm this year with plastic raincoats, dresses and clutch bags making an appearance at a number of top fashion week shows. We can now expect an increase in demand of nylons as lookwise nylon is the nearest replacement for plastic.”
Leather is the way forward this season. Skirts, skinnies or satchels; whatever wardrobe staple one can think of, it has been made in burnished leather. “Classic leather pieces are inclining towards the burnt texture side now. Techniques like ombre dyeing and dip-dyeing which were earlier used for creating effects, are getting replaced by burnt and de-stressed look,” informs Shahrukh Zaidi, MD, Studio SRZ. Fashion for the forthcoming season is all about clashing textures. Therefore burnished, burnt leather effect is being collided with clear plastic look. Although incredibly chic, leather can also be pretty intimidating. Therefore, exporters are tweaking this trend to create wax coated cottons which give the aesthetics and feel of leather.