Clothes that heal

2019-02-27 06:01

IMAGINE pyjamas that can help you sleep better or clothes that moisturise your skin all day.

Wellness clothing is hitting the fashion industry and experts believe that through what we wear, the health and wellness envelope can be pushed even further.

This intersection between wellness and fashion is the leading trend of the newly-released 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report.

The report, released in New York last week, is the culmination of deliberations between 650 wellness experts from 50 nations at the Global Wellness Summit last year held in Cesena, Italy. They debated the future of wellness, eventually narrowing it down to eight trends that would lead in disrupting the industry.

And on top of that list is fashion.

“The moment we’re born, clothing gets slapped on us. And for most of us, that founding moment foretells a nearly lifelong, complex relationship — even obsession — with what we wear. It’s understandable: no other objects touch our bodies every single day and our clothes are a powerful non-verbal projection of ‘who we are’,” states the report.

Although the athleisure trend, which has seen clothing designed for workouts or other athletic activities worn in other settings, is a well-known and thriving market valued at more than $83 billion globally (over R1,1 trillion) in 2016, experts believe that this year a huge wave of sustainable, ethical, healing and meaningful fashion will be on the rise.

The report says 80 billion garments are now produced worldwide each year, with three in five of them ending up in a landfill or burnt.

This “take-make-dispose” model creates a staggering 1,2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Beth McGroarty, the summit’s director of research, says there will be a change this year.

“We’ll see radical innovation in sustainable textiles, with clothing or shoes made from recycled plastic bottles, algae, mushrooms and food waste. More vegan, cruelty-free fashion, with alt-fur, alt-leather, alt-everything collections that are trendier than the real thing.

“New AI [artificial intelligence] and 3-D design technologies mean the future is an on-demand, custom-created-for-you wardrobe versus the spray-and-pray, generic overproduction,” McGroarty says.

And the kicker is, many of these innovations are already out in the market. “[International app developer] Change of Paradigm is developing virtual and holographic reality apps that let people experience clothing before they buy. They use digital textiles to ensure fit, and, at the click of your mouse, you can change patterns, prints and features,” the report states.

“Companies such as Denmark’s Solve are rolling out downloadable fashion: If you have access to a laser cutter [found in more places now], you can download their handbag patterns, laser-cut the recycled fabrics, and, for a few bucks and a 20-minute assembly time, you have a cool, sustainable new bag.”

The next generation of smart, connected and healing clothes that actively boost your wellbeing is also straight ahead.

“New technologies mean that fitness wearables will move seamlessly into clothing while self-regulating fabrics will adapt to all kinds of environmental and bodily changes — heat, cold, air flow, movement and UV rays.

“We’ll see antibacterial clothes that clean themselves, collagen-infused clothes that moisturise your body all day, clothes that broadcast your mood, pyjamas that help you sleep — even clothes weaving in ‘ancient wellness’, such as lines suffused with Ayurvedic [Indian medicine] medicinal plants,” McGroarty says.

And once again, most of these innovations are already in the market.

“Clothing brand Become uses techwear fabrics to help menopausal women manage hot flushes and night sweats. There are clothes that help our bodies to heal and sleep better. Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear incorporates bioceramic technology into pyjamas that absorb infrared wavelengths emitted by the body to reflect them back as infrared energy, to help the body recover faster and sleep better,” the report says. Other trends included wellness tourism, meditation, a fragrance’s role in wellbeing and dying well.

— City Press.

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