If a spray-can could provide the means for endless fashion possibilities, would you buy it? If your answer is yes, Fabrican’s Spray-on Fabric is the product for you. Do not be misled by this seemingly futuristic concept, as spray-on fabric is exactly what it sounds like: non-woven fabric that you can instantly spray on your body to create a personalized outfit.
By exploring the intersection of art and science, the company Fabrican has revolutionized the world of fashion. Conceptualized by Manel Torres at the Royal College of Art in London, spray technology allows designers to construct innovative garments, and makes it easier to customize fashion for individual body types and tailor to their aesthetic preferences. As the Fabrican website states, “the technology opens new vistas for personalized fashion, allowing individual touches to be added to manufactured garments, or even impromptu alterations.”
Right now, you are probably asking: How does this miracle technology even work? Through extensive work with chemists and experts in particle technology, Fabrican developed a mixture composed of short fibers that link together when sprayed using aerosol equipment. These textile fibers cross-link and adhere to each other, consequently creating a light layer of fabric. In addition to the obvious convenience of Fabrican’s spray-on fabric, it's very versatile. According to Fabrican, they have been “able to use different types of fibers from natural to synthetic, incorporating scents and colors (from primary to fluorescent) that provide great flexibility for modern consumers and industrial needs.”
Emerging in a new age of heightened eco-awareness, Fabrican thoughtfully developed this technology with a focus on eliminating textile waste. By spraying the fabric directly on the body, Fabrican’s technology allows the designer to avoid the tedious phase of conventional tailoring and completely removes the dilemma of excess/unused fabric. Although the fabric is technically sprayed into the air, scientists added a solvent to the mixture so that the chemicals would evaporate before the spray solidified. Additionally, the scientists of Fabrican devised the spray technology in an extremely inventive way: the fabric’s fibers can unlink and dissolve “back down to its original fiber components to recreate the spray” (Cultural Chromatics). Online sources do not describe the specifics of this chemical reaction, but do recognize its practical applications, such as recreating a damaged or torn garment.
As a potential consumer of this product, however, I am left with multiple questions. What if I don’t want all of my garments to literally be skin tight? Will I always need a second person to spray the fabric on me? Will my spray-on clothing have a peculiar chemical odor? Despite these concerns, I am excited to eventually try out this new technology and discover if it's really worth my while.
Although Fabrican’s Spray-On-Fabric was initially intended for the fashion industry, a number of commercial sectors have begun to recognize the benefits of this technology. From arm casts to car upholstery, this spray technology has significant potential for the medical industry, automotive manufacturers, and so on. While Fabrican is still experimenting with different elements of the spray-on-fabric and has not yet opened this product to the public, expect spray cans to be a huge hit in the near future.
For more information, see Manel Torres' TEDx talk below: