Fashion is getting smarter day by day. The growing use of science in clothing has led to the development of functional and a stylish second skin. Consumers today are extremely demanding and want something extra-ordinary to make them purchase a piece of clothing. Perfume infused textile products have been around for a while. Uses of sachets and perfumed hangers in one's closet to keep the clothes smelling fresh and fragrant have been there for a while. Consumers today are interested in such smart functional clothing.


ft5.jpgFragrance finishes have been used in home textiles, garments, and sportswear. Smell can create a sensory experience inside the body. In the history of perfumed textiles one can find scented gloves, handkerchiefs, underclothes, and even sails. In order to get rid of the dyeing smell, scented flowers and oils were used in many fabrics. Even laundering of clothes was done with rose and lavender water to scent fabrics.


Designers have made use of scents to add a little magic to their clothes. The scratch and sniff technology in clothes has been around for a while in the garment industry. Previously used in greeting cards and stickers, this was soon implemented in apparels especially for young kids. With microencapsulation of fragrances this is now possible. T-shirts with fruity and flowery prints have been produced, and when these prints are scratched a sweet smelling fragrance fills the air. However, frequent wash of clothes using the scratch and sniff method, can result in weakening of the micro-encapsulated smells.


Fragrances are said to work as mood enhancers, stress busters, and posses the capability to evoke emotions. Using aroma therapy in textiles, the wearer can be helped to stay calm and invoke alertness. This innovative combination can be used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease. Connecting clothes with fragrance technology to biometric sensors, which measure heart rate and stress levels, a relaxing scent can be infused to help a person calm down or for uplifting an individual's mood. The use of sensors helps register scents and release them depending on the mood of a person.


Cosmectic textiles


There are many forms in which fragrances can be used, like, perfumes, colognes, essential oils, and potpourri. Clothes act as second skin, and infusing essential oils into one's wardrobe can help keep skin moisturized and nourished. Cosmetic-textiles can be developed with other substances like vitamins, skin moisturizing agents, skin cooling agents, and anti-ageing agents.

 

ft6.jpgMicro-encapsulation technology using different methods like spray drying, complex coacervation, interfacial polymerization, in situ polymerization, centrifugal extrusion, air suspension coating and pan coating are being used in developing textile products with cosmetic properties.


A micro capsule consists of two main components; the active ingredient, which is a substance in solid or liquid form and the outer wall or shell, which is a polymer coating encapsulating the active ingredient. The wall or shell can be a membrane that is made of natural, semi-synthetic, or synthetic material.


Using menthol and micro-encapsulating it onto textile fibres manufacturers have designed a product that helps the body to stay cool and has a calming effect on the wearer. Another commercially available textile product uses chitosan, a substance obtained from shells of shrimps. The exhaustion method is used to microencapsulate these substances during wet processing of natural and synthetic fabrics. The textile industry currently consists of cosmetic fabric products with moisturizing, energizing, relaxing, cooling, anti-heavy legs, and mosquito repellant properties.


These active ingredients are released by two different techniques. One is when there exists friction between the clothing and the skin, the capsules break there by releasing the ingredients. The other method uses chitosan, wherein the chitosan membrane gets biodegraded automatically when it comes in contact with the enzymes present naturally on the users skin.


Another innovative product uses encapsulated active industry used in high end cosmetic products like vitamin A, D, E and aloe vera that provide innumerable skin benefits and promotes a sense of wellness. This treatment is used to develop a whole range of textile products like T-shirts, intimate wear, stockings, bedding and socks.


The extra-ordinary needs of smart consumers have led to the engineering of such novel fabrics and clothes. The application of aromatherapy in textiles at present is focusing on skin care and stress management but with growing importance and research, the future of such new ideas will provide solutions to hair care and treatment, body slimming and treatment of medical ailments. The micro-encapsulation of essential oils has been widely embraced by consumers and appreciated by manufacturers too.


Similarly, cosmetic fabrics and textiles have garnered the interest of many companies who are targeting to improve apparel performance with special enhancements. However, the efficiency and performance of such garments needs to be improved by developing better techniques and fabric properties for long lasting results. Companies like Adidas, Nike, and LOreal have shown keen interest in developing textile product with cosmetic finishes.

 

References:


1.      Smelliesclothing.com

2.      Insiderhealth.com

3.      Dailylife.com

4.      Digitalcommons.unl.edu

5.      Nononsensecosmethic.org


Image Courtesy:


1.      Futuremorph.org

2.      Technologyreview.com

3.      Skinupmalaysia.wordpress.com