On Dec. 10, IntertechPira's three-day "Smart and Intelligent Textiles" conference begins in Prague with an entire day dedicated to nanotextiles. "The most promising technologies being researched today are the ones that don't alter the look or feel of the fabrics," says designer Angel Chang, who will be a keynote speaker at the event. Traditional treatments not only fade with washing, but also change the way materials feel. This is where nanotextile technologies shine.
At the moment, most of the available nanotextiles are made of fibers that have been chemically treated. The molecules in these chemicals have been arranged so that they bond with the fibers on a molecular level and give the fabric the desired performance capability without clogging the weave or changing its hand. Nano-Tex, founded in 1998, currently produces four main fabric treatments named simply by function in its 80 licensed mills.
But the nano game isn't just for big corporations. Earlier this year, Cornell assistant professor Juan Hinestroza and his research staff developed a new method for creating nanotextiles. Hinestroza dipped positively charged cotton into a negatively charged silver nanoparticle solution, producing an antibacterial nanotextile. It sounds like a basic chemical method, but Hinestroza explains that his "self-assembly" procedure is quite different from current nanotextile treatments. "It's very difficult to coat natural fibers because of their curvature and composition," he explains. "This process, which we've used with polymers in the past, forces particles to find a thermodynamic equilibrium." In short, opposites attract, and the particles fall into place. Hinestroza went on to place negatively charged palladium crystals onto positively charged cotton to create a nanofabric that effectively oxidizes smog.
Nanotechnology itself is nothing new. In 1987, Anchor Press published K. Eric Drexler's book "Engines of Creation," in which he warns of a "gray goo" made up of microscopic machines that could destroy the environment, and there's serious discussion today about nanotoxicology. There are fears that man-made molecules, engineered to punch holes in cell membranes for drug delivery or to be stronger than steel, can destroy human cells, causing irritation or even severe illnesses. The National Nanotechnology Initiative, begun by the Clinton administration in 2000, is a federal research and development program coordinating research on the topic from 26 separate government agencies. "There's a lot of research right now on cell toxicity for these fibers," says Hinestroza. "The results, however, are inconclusive, and more study is definitely necessary."The direction nanotechnology can take fabrics available to the fashion industry is potentially extraordinary, but — possible health issues aside — this innovation-to-watch still isn't quite ready to revolutionize the market. Cheaper nano finishes are tailored specifically to cotton at this point, which limits their usefulness for designers who work primarily with wools or silks. And Hinestroza's innovative technique? It produces fabric at roughly $10,000 a square yard.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
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For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty