Harvard scientists invented a material that ‘remembers’ its shape

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Still trying to wrap my head around this one, to be honest.

Scientists at Harvard are claiming they’ve invented a new “wool-like” fabric that changes shape and, if I’m being completely honest, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. First off, how the hell can a fabric have a memory and, secondly, what does that even mean?

A post on Harvard’s website uses hair as a metaphor in an attempt to clarify. If you straighten your hair — and your hair gets wet in the rain — it eventually goes back to its original shape, whether that’s curly or wavy or whatever.

Apparently that’s because hair has “shape memory”.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a fibrous material that does much the same thing. The hope? This new material could be used in clothes to help reduce waste in the fashion industry. The example the Harvard article uses: a one-size all fits t-shirt that could automatically shrink or expand to fit to a person’s specific measurements. Or how about self-fitting bras or underwear?

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Samsung’s automatic dry cleaning wardrobe removes 99% bacteria and is finally on sale!

What is your most hated chore in quarantine? I think its a tie between doing the dishes and laundry. For me, it is definitely laundry just because it takes longer and is so much more tedious! And while folding my clothes I think about Samsung’s AirDresser – an innovative wardrobe designed to steam, deodorize and sanitize clothes without putting them through a washer-dryer cycle.

Traditional laundry machine cycles can potentially damage clothes (how many of us even know the right settings for our loads?) and ever since the pandemic took over our lives we are doing laundry more often to stay safe – this is bound to wear them out 5x faster than usual. The Samsung AirDresser is here to save the day! Its sleek build is similar to a tall, thin fridge and can seamlessly blend in any room. The AirDresser uses a combination of steaming and heat-pump powered drying, and you won’t even have to plumb it in says Samsung. “That’s because, rather than a water connection like a traditional washer would require, the AirDresser relies on a refillable water tank at the bottom of the cabinet. It means it can be installed pretty much anywhere with a regular 120V outlet,” explains the team.

The wardrobe has space for six hanging garments and includes a set of weighted hangers for helping pull the wrinkles out of pants. The AirDresser is safe to use for suits, woolen clothes, knits, down, fur, leather, and denim making it super versatile and functional. Samsung also mentions that it is good to be used to clean babywear (definitely a lot of cycles there!), toys, and even bedding. I think the bedding bit is so important because traditional washer-dryer ties my bedsheet into such knots and we all know ‘entanglements’ aren’t good (right, Smiths?). It also saves water and makes it easier for the elderly to do their laundry!

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Resale market expected to be valued at $64 billion in 5 years, as used clothing takes over closets

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A ThredUp warehouse.

KEY POINTS

  • The secondhand apparel market is valued at about $28 billion today and is forecast to reach $64 billion within the five years, according to a new report by ThredUp and GlobalData Retail.
  • “Resale is here to stay,” said ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart. “The next question is who wins and who loses.”

Despite the coronavirus pandemic upending much of the retail industry and putting a damper on apparel sales, the secondhand clothing market is expected to boom, according to one online resale marketplace.

The secondhand apparel market is valued at about $28 billion today and is forecast to reach $64 billion within five years, ThredUp said in its annual report, which is completed in a partnership with the third-party research firm GlobalData Retail.

It said the resale market grew 25 times faster than the overall retail market last year, with an estimated 64 million people buying secondhand products in 2019.

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Smart Socks with textile pressure sensors, that can be washed

 

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Fraunhofer textile sensor

Flexible mechanical sensors that can be bonded or sewn into woven or knitted fabrics have been developed by German research lab Fraunhofer ISC.

 Deformation, force and pressure can be measured, and strains up to 100% (doubling length) can be endured.

It is an elastomer film with flexible electrodes on both sides. Electrode patterning can be used to create an array of sensors. Silicone rubber is the preferred elastomer, with chemical cross-linking allowing hardness to be tuned.

“The textile-integrated sensors are washable, show a high wearing comfort and are reasonable in price,” said the lab. “They are applicable in medical devices, for preventing bed sores or for localising the pressure distribution in shoes, for example. They can also support personal training by measuring the posture via the clothes, or as an input device for game and fitness device controlling.”

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These ‘smart clothes’ conduct Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to link all your gadgets at once, and can boost your battery life by 1,000 times

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The clothes can be washed, dried and ironed as with regular garments.

In recent years, wearable devices like smartwatches have become increasingly popular among those who want to keep track of their personal health and fitness.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore invented clothing that conducts Bluetooth and WiFi to connect all your different gadgets, turning the wearer into a pseudo-human circuit board.

The conductive material on the clothing is made from stainless steel in comb-shaped strips attached to the outer surface of the clothing, and can still be washed like any normal clothing.

The team is eventually looking to commercialize the meta-material, particularly in the athletics and healthcare industries where body performance and health monitoring are so important.

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Unique ultrasonic cleaner cleans more efficiently than a washing machine

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A unique ultrasonic cleaner has been created which is more efficient than a washing machine and takes the form of the Sonic Soak. The compact ultrasonic cleaner has been specifically created to offer users with the “ultimate portable cleaner” says its creators, providing state-of-the-art powerful ultrasonic cleaning technology in the palm of your hand.

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Levi’s found a way to make hemp feel like cotton, and it could have big implications for your wardrobe

 

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Denim icon Levi Strauss & Co. debuted garments made from a soft hemp-cotton blend in March, and head of innovation Paul Dillinger said he expects 100% cottonized-hemp products in about five years.

Hemp uses significantly less water and chemicals than cotton during cultivation. Levi’s has found a way to soften hemp using far less water than was previously used.

Dillinger said the long-term goal is to incorporate sustainable cotton blends by using fibers such as hemp into all of its products.

With the legalization of hemp in the United States last December, the industry has been exploding: Reports and Data estimates it’ll be worth $13.03 billion by 2026. While you’ve probably noticed hemp-derived CBD products everywhere, hemp also has major implications for sustainable clothing and denim icon Levi Strauss & Co. has made significant progress in making this happen.

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Generation Z & the fast fashion paradox

 

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If the last year or so has taught us anything about Generation Z – the age group born post-1996 – it’s that they’re environmentally woke. While millennials’ memories of adolescence might consist of MySpace and MSN, for today’s teens and early twentysomethings, school strikes and climate marches to protest the state of the Earth they’re set to inherit are just another Friday. Then there’s 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, an emblem of Gen Z climate-consciousness, who in the past month has dominated headlines for her carbon-neutral yacht expedition across the Atlantic to speak at the UN’s climate conference. Millennials may have been the first group to grow up with an awareness of the climate crisis but it’s their successors who are collectively taking action.

And yet when it comes to fashion – one of the most polluting industries on the planet – Gen Z presents something of a paradox. As the first cohort of digital natives, their coming-of-age has coincided with the height of social media and, subsequently, the advent of ultra-fast fashion brands that target young people online with enticing discounts and influencer partnerships. If sales are anything to go by, the strategy works: Boohoo PLC (which owns Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal among others) is expected to hit £1.9 billion in revenue by the end of this year. Environmentally engaged yet seduced by what’s new and ‘now’, it’s tricky to tell whether fashion in the hands of the youngest generation is moving towards a more sustainable model – or bound to be faster than ever.

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The perfect pair of pants is just a 3D body scan away

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LIKE SO MANY women, Meghan Litchfield dreaded shopping for jeans. There were the garden-variety complaints: inconsistent sizing between brands, the way back pockets stretched or sagged, the humiliation of walking into a dressing room with half a dozen options only to walk out empty-handed. Even the best candidates were ill-fitting. Most of the time, she’d buy jeans one size up to fit her hips, then ask a tailor take them in at the waist.

Litchfield, formerly a vice president at GoPro, figured there must be a way to shop that wasn’t so demoralizing. Instead of taking off-the-rack clothes to the tailor, what if she could buy her clothes tailor-made? And what if she could make that happen for other women, too?

A solution arrived late last year with Redthread, the startup Litchfield created to make bespoke clothing for anyone with a smartphone. Customers choose an item from Redthread’s website, fill out a “fit quiz,” and capture a series of full-body photos with their phone. Redthread pulls 3D measurement data from those photos and, combined with a customer’s fit preferences, creates a made-to-order item.

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A new shirt can help deaf people feel music

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Tech-infused fashion isn’t just about looking good—it can have some groundbreaking uses too, as a company called CuteCircuit is proving.

The London-based tech-fashion firm, which has recently provided Katy Perry with (literally) flashy outfits, has just successfully tested a shirt that can help deaf people feel the music they cannot hear.

The Sound Shirt is an adaptation of a CuteCircuit concept called the Hug Shirt, of which the company has produced around 100 prototypes over the last decade. A German orchestra, the Jungen Symphoniker Hamburg, commissioned then bought this latest version.

The Sound Shirt is connected to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones placed at various points around the orchestra’s stage. It is filled with actuators, which are little motors that vibrate in relation to the intensity of the music being played, in real time.

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A growing number of people are getting rich selling T-shirts online – with no overhead, no inventory, and no investment

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Nearly every night after dinner for eight straight months, Glen Zubia brewed a cup of coffee, turned on heavy metal music, and made T-shirts.

On Mondays he did research, scouring the Internet for funny slogans, like the one where Santa Claus asks, “Where My Ho’s At?”

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays he designed in Adobe Illustrator. On Thursdays he saved his creations in the correct image format—a process that takes longer than you’d think—and on Fridays and Saturdays he uploaded them to Amazon.

Then, sending up a prayer that they’d sell, he started all over again.

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Cost per like is the new cost per wear

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Twenty-four hours before leaving for a weekend trip to Miami, I went into a panic. I needed new swimsuits. New shorts. New tops. New sandals. I speed-shopped through H&M, Aritzia, and Zara, recklessly swiping my card, as if I were on my own version of Supermarket Sweep. I wasn’t preoccupied by where to go, what to do, what to eat and drink when I landed. The first thing on my mind was, What am I going to wear? More specifically, What am I going to wear for Instagram?

It’s become my worst habit. I shop before every trip, whether I’m going abroad for a week or just a quick weekend escape. With the exciting prospect of fun activities, new locations backdrops, and Living My Best Life #content opportunities, my inner faux-influencer comes out. As frivolous as it feels, I have a lot of fun crafting the perfect ‘gram—from the pose to the outfit.

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