Could Glue Be The Future for Fashion Production?
Recently, models for the Dyne Fashion Week show presented a collection with a major difference. The audience made up of press, buyers, industry and influencers were amazed when they heard about the construction of Dyne’s streetwear designs. There was something different with this collection of windbreakers, t-shirts, shorts and bomber jackets. All of the streetwear was stitch free! Not a thread in sight! Instead, the brand had selected to use an adhesive that gives the clothes a lighter feel, a sportier look and smoother lines. And because of this new application of adhesive, the designers were able to get creative, layering up pieces with the freedom to experiment.
Surprisingly glue can be found in a number of apparel products. Patagonia, the outdoor clothing brand, is already focusing on making their outdoor clothing range stitch free. The brand has given Nichola Napora the task to create next-generation coats that allows a human to summit the highest mountains such as Kanchenjunga and Everest. The main aim of this label is to equip the mountaineers with the ideal way for weather gear and to make clothes that can withstand freezing water conditions. The brand is unique that in the sense that it needs to keep human survival at the top of its design check list. For this purpose, Napora decided to not use stitches as they can cause puncture holes, instead, she decided to use glue.
For centuries, the only technology used to create garments was stitching, but now many big brands such as Nike, Alexander Wang, and Victoria’s Secret are relying on glue to create hems, connect fabric and features like patterns and pockets.
A family-owned business called Bemis is one of the companies that is driving this innovation forward. At the start, the company developed a leather adhesive used in shoe manufacturing. In 1982, the Bemis team were encouraged to research and develop other adhesives too.
In the early 2000’s, Americans started incorporating activewear and causal dressing in their everyday wardrobe. So, the company began to partner with brands like Patagonia and Under Armour to put forward the idea that fabric glued together would be more comfortable for the wearer, that it helps protect the garments against the elements and allows them to stretch. After that, the engineers at Bemis started to use Sew Free technology. In which a double-sided tape is used and when heated creates a waterproof bond between fabrics.
After developing this technology, Bemis sold it to hundreds of other brands including Lululemon, Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, and Nike. This technology has many advantages to traditional sewing. It can withstand stretching, is lighter and waterproof, which is great for activewear brands. Bemis now makes hundreds of gallons of glue every day that is shipped off to factories around the globe. This might well mark the beginning of bonded apparel in fashion production.
Intro image courtesy of Bemis