What stretches up to over 500 percent its size and still manages to retain its shape on recovery?
Oh! That’s another thing you probably didn’t know. Elastane, elastane fibre and Spandex fibre are used interchangeably across the globe. Spandex, however, is used more commonly than the rest, more so in the United States of America, so it was natural for the term catch on to the rest of the world.
Remember Spanx, a stretchy multi-apparel line introduced as slimming wear to the market? It capitalised the most on elastane and its stretch capabilities. They took elastane wrapped with hard yarn (this blend is also known as covered spandex yarn) and created a line of clothing that would not only make you look slimmer but also improve posture. The confidence Spanx gave to overweight women is exemplary.
So how did Elastane Fibre come into existence. This is a fascinating story in its own. During the World War II, when rubber was used in the equipment used in the war, scientists were burning the midnight oil trying to come up for an alternative for this expensive and unstable natural element. That is how elastane was invented. Elastane wouldn’t react to extreme temperatures and chemicals, and displayed phenomenal stretch and recover properties. It was also extremely cheap to manufacture.
Soon after, elastane was being used in the manufacture of garments. Spandex clothing came to be a rage among Rock artists and enthusiasts– it was shiny, tight and iconic. It was a fashion staple from the 70’s through the 80’s.
Today elastane is used in the creation of fashion and function wear. Intimate wear, active wear, fashion wear, hosiery… you name the category and you’ll find a little bit of spandex, or maybe lots, everywhere!