Are designers looking for fabrics that protect from Covid-19?

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  • With fashion stores starting to re-open in the UK and worldwide, shopping as we know it is changing, including how we try on shoes.

    In Paris, Louis Vuitton staff are steaming clothes and quarantining handbags for 24 hours after they have been tried on, before putting back on the shop floor.

    The reasoning behind this is that there isn’t much research around how long the virus can survive on fabrics, and designers are apparently looking into which fabrics are more anti-bacterial, according to the South China Morning Post.

    Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, told the publiclation, ‘Each fabric performs differently and there hasn’t been extensive work done on the current strain of coronavirus and its relationship to soft surfaces such as textiles. What we do know is that there are certain textiles that are naturally antibacterial, such as wool, cashmere and silk. Merino wool, for example, is being used as a high-performance material by brands such as Patagonia because it has a hostile surface on which bacteria cannot survive.’

    Whilst it’s a leap to say that designers will completely change the way they make their clothes, it would be interesting to see if there is a demand from consumers for more ‘smart’ fabrics that are for example often found in sportswear.

    Another expert, Valentina Xu, China CEO at Fashion Tech Lab, suggest using more natural fibres such as linen, bamboo and hemp, which are naturally anti-bacterial.

    Using those fabrics would also help fashion brands be more sustainable, which would make sense given the industry’s call for a slower fashion pace.

    Whichever way we look at it, the virus will have a lasting impact on fashion.

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