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Spray-On Clothing. Good Idea. Horrible Name

What you see above is a new product called Fabrican, an aerosol based fabric spray. This technology allows for tiny particles or fibers to be airbrushed onto the body. Once dry, it can be pealed off, washed, and worn again once.

Fabrican is the techno-baby of Manel Torres, a Spanish fashion designer and academic visitor at Imperial College and Paul Luckham, a professor of particle technology. They have been working on the product since 2003 and while it’s still in the prototyping phase, they’ve already procured patents in the US, Europe, and Asia. (Forbes)

In the beginning, Torres and Luckham milled down old fabrics and mixed the fibers with a polymer. They then added a solvent that would evaporate and dry before it hit a solid surface. The first prototypes were thin and fell a part in your hands, now the material has a feel more like suede.

If you can get past the horrible name, Fabrican can (no pun intended) change the way we use and interact with materials. It has many applications from pre-sterilized bandages to fashion.

What is not clear from the company or press coverage is what the experience is like to spray on your clothes everyday, how long it takes, and if it applies nicely to sweaty areas, or sticks to your body hair when you try to remove it. (Ouch!) Also, what happens after you wash it? Can you boil it down and use the material gain in another can?

I know people will try it, but my fear is that it will end up in some silly novelty store in Algonquin and sold off for .50 during a summer sale. This technology deserves better. 

Article and Images via WIRED & Forbes


Bao-Khang, totally agree. This technology has great promise and as usual the scientists are making it into a gimmick. I love the idea of using this in the interior design world. High tech slipcovers, hurray!

Alison Lewis

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 15:59

Fabrican looks like the love child of latex body paint and spray string. I'm not sure how fashionable spray on clothes can possibly get. It's going to take some major design refinement to move beyond the realms of novelty and kitsch. It looks cumbersome and time consuming to "put on". Personally, I wouldn't wear one unless I had a six-pack and was attending a Comicon. FORTUNATELY, the inventors also propose uses beyond fashion including medical, automotive, and other applications.

You can actually wash the fabric like normal clothing. Using a special solution you can also re-dissolve it back into the liquid suspension for more spraying! It's almost closed loop recycling!

I think it would be a nice way to refresh furniture. Slipcovers are so passé! Just rip off the fabric, re-dissovle, then respray. Instant new couch! Bottom line I'd buy a case of Fabrican if I could, and go all Meret Oppenheim on my teacups and spoons.


Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 23:47