Dr Torres’ PhD at the Royal College of Art gave talk to sixth form students on the 3rd October 2016.
This week, the Sixth Form were addressed by Spanish fashion-pioneer Dr Manel Torres, inventor of spray-on fabric technology and founder of Fabrican. Fabrican was created as a means of accelerating conventional processes of manufacturing clothing, forming part of Dr Torres’ PhD at the Royal College of Art. He is now based at Imperial College London, where he continues to develop Fabrican Ltd.
So how does it work? The solution consists of both natural and synthetic fibres with liquid polymers, creating a substance that can be sprayed from cans of compressed air and will dry instantly on contact with air. The products are clothes that fit to size and can be washed and reworn, with the additional option to dissolve the material and start from scratch. As of yet, the spray takes fourteen minutes to set, though developments are well under way to creating stronger, faster-drying and more durable sprays. Spray-on clothes have already begun to infiltrate the world, with appearances at London Fashion Week 2010 and numerous TED Talks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr Torres has high hopes that this technology will soon be responsible for both footwear and car interiors (presumably ones that can’t be dissolved).
If, unlike Miss Camillo, you’ve not yet passed out from excitement at the prospect of wholly-customisable fashion, then hold on. You may not be thrilled by possessing the power of a fashion-crazed Spiderman, but this silly string inspired product is more useful than it may seem. As of 2014, Fabrican has taken up office at the London Bioscience Innovation Centre, with aims of developing biomedical applications. The sterile conditions of the aerosol can qualify Fabrican for potential use in the creation of bandages, wound dressings and casts. Also intriguing is the prospect of using drones to disperse the spray around oil spills, containing and absorbing the harmful substances. Either way, Dr Torres has given us a lot to be excited about with the future of Fabrican.
In all honesty, the concept of spray-on fabric is fascinating. Will this technology liberate the world from ill-fitting jumpers once and for all? Will these spray cans cause a crime wave of garment-related graffiti and vandalism? Will Miss Camillo have to get a wardrobe extension? Only time will tell…
Joe - Sixth Form Senior Prefect