The history of fabrics can be traced back to the 18th century where India was known as the main textile hub. Different types of fabrics were woven, embellished and dyed to enhance their appearance. The textile industry in India is the second most employment-generating industry. Indian fabrics are in high demand all over the world. The quest into the basics of Indian textiles leads to an in-depth study of textile science.
Textile science plays a major role in the development of a fabric. The process of developing a fabric is quite complex as it has to go through a series of processes. As important draping and embellishment are to fashion design, so is textile science that holds a prominent place in the field.
Understanding a fabric’s physical, chemical and biological properties summarises the gist of knowledge acquired and used in textile science. As every fabric is different from the other in its properties, a thorough fabric analysis is important. This understanding that is highly important in fashion designing helps designers to make a sensible choice of choosing fabrics that complement their design.
Before a fabric is chosen for a particular garment, its properties are tested to check its strength, durability and suitability. For example, a fabric such as satin is mostly chosen to design evening gowns because it is soft, lustrous and has a good fall. On the other hand, a fabric like cotton is more suitable for casual clothing as the fabric gives a highly comfortable feel.
Fashion designers are able to judge the fabric with its look and feel. Analyzing a fabric is not just a natural knack but comes with experience and definitely after pursuing a professional fashion designing course. These designers actually go down to the anatomy of a fabric as it helps them in the designing process. They are even able to visualize the look of the garment before it is finally ready.
In fact, in fashion designing institutes, textile science as a subject is an important part of the curriculum. Textile science as a subject of study includes topics like dyeing, printing and weaving. Students are also taught about each fabric and its usage. An in-depth study gives a clear understanding of each fabric.
Textile science has also led to the innovation of new fabrics. Few of them are as follows:
This is latest to the addition of sustainable fabrics. Paper cloth is made from non-woven cellulose. This is produced with Swedish paper to make fashionable clothing. Here, recycled paper is used to make innovative clothing.
The orange fibre is recovered from orange waste specifically developed for sustainable fashion. In this process, no natural resources are exploited. The orange is squeezed and with the remaining skin the cellulose is converted into yarns and then into fabric.
Pinatex is another innovative fibre used in fashion. This fibre is extracted from pineapple leaves. It is biodegradable, lightweight, strong and very easy to sew. Many fashion designers use this as an alternative to leather.
These days, many institutes have included sustainable fashion as part of the curriculum. In fashion design classes, students learn about the importance of sustainable fashion clothing and how best it can be implemented.
MycoTEX is a fabric developed from mushroom mycelium. A certain vegetative part of the mushroom consists of multiple fine white filaments. These filaments are converted into yarns to make fabrics.
The MycoTEX fabric is literally grown! The fabric can be trimmed into different patterns and can be embellished. This fibre requires less water and no chemicals at all.
A knitting company launched a new yarn known as Tina Tape Yarn developed from the Eucalyptus trees. The yarn is extracted after the fibre is harvested and pulped. The fabric made from the yarn is called Tencel (or Lyocell) which is a regenerated from wood cellulose. The yarn is wrinkle resistant, soft and eco-friendly.
Textile science is highly applicable in fashion and is involved in the making of every textile product. It is for this very reason that every fashion design student must understand the basics of fabric development that owes a lot to textile science.