Spray-on clothes unveiled on chemistry lab catwalk

Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:57pm EDT
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By Stuart McDill

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - As the fashion pack leave London for Milan, one designer and a professor of particle technology unveiled their own unique collection made in one afternoon with spray-on fabric.

The pair, Manel Torres and Paul Luckham, are perfecting a fabric that can be sprayed onto skin and other surfaces to make clothes, medical bandages and even upholstery.

Torres, a visiting academic at Imperial College London, approached Luckham, an Imperial College professor of particle technology, to help him realize his dream of a spray-on garment that can be taken off, washed and worn again.

"Couture these days is almost dying," Torres said. "I think here we have a good way of creating instant clothing -- that is not very expensive."

Torres demonstrated the process in a lab at Imperial College, spraying a T-shirt onto a model in a matter of minutes. An experience the unnamed model described as "nice, actually."

"It's like second skin," she said.

The system uses short fibers, such as wool, linen or acrylic, mixed with polymers to bind them together. A solvent which evaporates on contact with a surface allows the fibers to be sprayed out of can as a liquid.

The spray can be applied using an aerosol can or high pressure spray gun and the texture can be varied by changing the fibers and the numbers of layers of spray. The whole process also allows the material to be recycled.   Continued...