Ironing is NOT a hot topic with consumers today. Our time-starved society wants minimal care clothing. Advancements in wrinkle-resistant fabric finishes have cooled the need for ironing. In just five years, wrinkle-resistant finishes have become a standard for most producers of casual mens pants.

Wrinkle-resistant, wrinkle free, durable press and permanent press are textile finishing terms that are used interchangeably. These terms all apply to various types of finishing agents that have been added to fabrics to prevent or decrease the amount of wrinkles. Todays movement to wrinkle-resistant casual wear is not just a recycling of the dry, brittle durable press in wash and wear finishes of yesterday. The latest wrinkle-resistant fabrics are newly engineered products that were born of advanced technology.

These wrinkle-resistant finishes became popular in the early 90s when they were added to mens all-cotton trousers. According to Jay Meltzer, an apparel analyst, the finishes have given the bottoms industry a new lease on life. Companies such as Hagger and Farah were leaders in adding the wrinkle resistant pants to their lines. Hagger launched a line called WrinkleFree all-cotton pants in 1992. The line was a success and by December of 1993 Haggar had 76 percent of the market in that category. Farahs version of the wrinkle-resistant pants is their Savan line. Duck Head and Levi Strauss Dockers have also added the finishes to their lines.

Several problems have been associated with wrinkle-resistant finishes, such as attracting grease and oil stains, fabric degradation and environmental concerns. Most of the problems have been minimized but companies are constantly finding ways to improve the properties. The biggest improvements have been in improving the aesthetics.

Wrinkle-resistant garments have now become necessities in wardrobes. The finish that revitalized the bottoms industry has now made its mark in other sections of the menswear industry, such as woven and knitted dress and sports shirts, jeans and suits. Wrinkle-resistant clothing has also been added to childrens apparel and many areas of the womenswear market. The success of the finishes on garments will lead to further growth in other markets.

With the increasing popularity of causal wear in the work place the wrinkle-resistant industry has sky rocketed. You will see wrinkle-resistant garments in the lines of Tommy Hilfiger, L.L.Bean, Eddie Bauer, Geoffery Beene, Timberland and many more. Not only are wrinkle-resistant garments found at finer department stores and in mail-order catalogs, you will also see garments displaying some type of wrinkle-resistant label at stores such as Wal-Mart and Kmart. The home furnishings industry has caught on to the wrinkle free idea by adding the finishes to sheets.

Are these wrinkle-resistant garments more expensive than those that do not contain the finish? Yes, but they are, for the most part, still reasonably priced. Will all of the brands carrying the wrinkle-resistant items perform the same? Not necessarily... there are no stringent guidelines for manufacturers; therefore, it is recommended that you purchase a well-known brand that you trust.

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