From 3D muses to self-cleaning clothing, 2011 was an inventive year for the fashion industry. When it comes to new fabrics, some of the best futuristic fashion is already available in wearable form, while other developments are just past the cat’s whisker stage (and we’ll have to hold out for 2012 to actually don the technology). Let’s take a look at the best ways that fashion headed into the future this year:
1. 3D fashion printing: This year, 3D printing in clothing form was made into a stylish reality, with a 3D printed bikini from online start-up Continuum Fashion. We’re looking forward to seeing what they (and others) bring us in 2012.
2. Self-cleaning cotton: Okay, it’s not a component of the cotton itself, but a specialized coating applied to the fabric that enables it to repel stains, as well as clean and deodorize itself when exposed to sunlight. If the fabric enters the mainstream, it will be a boon to everyone who always waits too long for laundry day.
3. 3D muses: Merely having a muse isn’t enough. Thierry Mugler designer and Lady Gaga favorite Nicola Formichetti had to re-create his tattooed model muse, Zombie Boy, as a 3D avatar. Formichetti grabbed attention by showing the 3D video, made in conjunction with an online gaming company, in the windows of a pop-up shop in lower Manhattan. Are hologram muses next for 2012?
4. Milk fiber clothing: If that new, stain-repelling chemical adherent to cotton makes you nervous, how about trying clothing made from milk fiber? It feels silky, has natural antibacterial properties, and it’s largely chemical-free. A German designer developed the flowy fabric, QMilch, from the milk protein casein, and has already begun working it into a women’s clothing line.
5. Spray-on clothing: A particle engineer and a fashion designer, working together at Imperial College London, came up with a liquid combination of cotton fibers, polymers, and a solvent that turns into a fabric when sprayed from an aerosol can. Though it has yet to be commercially applied, the spray-on fabric was used in a fashion show at the school, and its creators hope it might also be utilized as an instant bandage.