Nanotechnology is streaming every sphere of modern age with barely any area left untouched, so much so that now we as humans may soon experience it in fashion clothing as well. The concept of connected clothing has taken wings and is gathering a lot of vigour to take a flight through innovations and developments being made in the applicability of nanotechnology to create new textiles with superior qualities.
Nanotex is a concept that took the world by storms some 15 years ago and what we have now is nanotechnology doing the same and creating a platform for researchers and fashionist as to gather and share their experiences in a fun and thrilled manner.
The manipulation of matter at a scale of less than 100 nanometers is termed as Nanotechnology. While creating designs of textiles with excellent mechanical strength, chemical resistance, water repellency, antibacterial properties and a number of other properties seems unattainable through other means, doing the same is very much possible through Nanotechnology. All thanks to the unique nature of nanoparticles and nonofibres!
With so many benefits under one umbrella, the market has seen a surge of new players along with the disruption of existing ones. In the lot, seven start-ups are doing fabulous work in delivering tomorrow's futuristic clothing .
This Israeli start-up was founded in 2013 and has received $15 million in funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme for Research ( FP7). The team has invented a process to counteract hospital-acquired infections affecting 511 million patients globally. The company developed a single step nano coating process that coats textiles or glass with Zinc Oxide (ZnO) and lends a permanent antibacterial property to the materials.
Being cost effective, scalable and environmental friendly, this process can be applied to any fabric type be it synthetic, nylon, cotton or silk. Moreover, it doesn't alter the colour of the fabric nor damages it in the process. Magnetic, conductive or hydrophobic coatings are allowed to be applied to different surfaces as well besides the permanent antibacterial properties.
The creator of synthetic spider silk, Bolt Threads was founded in 2009 by Emerybille, California. Having taken $213 million in funding to create the silk from genetically modified yeast cultures, the start-up has also purchased the Best Made Company in 2017 ; which is a New York based outdoor apparel company.
Spider Silk created by the company is much stronger than steel, but is soft that makes it ideal for spinning into yarn and creating durable clothing. The company has also collaborated with major names in the industry like Mountain Meadow and Stella McCartney who introduced Spider Silk to the Paris runway and the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Names such as Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings have funded this New York based start-up with $53.5 million for using DNA sequencing to grow collagen in a lab setting. Collagen is a protein found in our skin.
This technology will be highly beneficial for fashion designing as it will help choose qualities of leather such as its size and thickness and can even help brands to incorporate their brands into the genomes themselves.
The synthetic collagen is created by them in a liquid form which can be used as spray paints to craft seamless clothes. One of the T-shifts made through this process has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art next to Stella McCartney's spider silk dress.
This method also lends sustainability to the process of production and helps stop the hurtful and traditional way of extracting animal leather.
This Japanese start-up was founded in 2007 and has developed a technology that allows for the use of DNA coding in proteins to manufacture basic industrial materials like textiles, plastics or metals. It has been funded with $148 million and is busy producing synthetic spider silk and is a direct competitor to Bolt Threads.
The manufacturing process of Spiber is based on molecular design and Gene synthesis that leads to the creation of a diverse range of substances is what sets it apart from Bolt Threads.
This Switzerland based start-up was founded in 2008 and its funding remains undisclosed for its project of creating electronically controlled active membrane called HYDRO_BOT that transports moisture very efficiently. This technology finds a great use in sports, work and protective clothing where moisture is released at the same rate that humans sweat, even during intensive activities or under challenging conditions.
Started in 20009, this New Jersey based start-up took a funding of merely $9 million to develop a textile treatment that destroys microorganisms. Silver salts used in this treatment kills germs besides fighting body odour when they are embedded into the textile fibers.
The germs are killed by silver through interruption in germ cell's ability to form chemical bonds which help them survive. While coming in contact with silver particles, these bacteria collapse and die. From healthcare to military and athletics, this technology is finding a place everywhere.
This Estonian start-up has become the IKEA of nano clothing. Founded in 2013, it has taken an undisclosed amount of funds to provide DIY nano coating sprays for textiles, electronics and cars.
Clothes, shoes and carpets made from this textile and leather solution not just become super hydrophobic that is, extremely water repellent; but resistant to bacteria as well.