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Mart Drake-Knight

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Invisible T-Shirt Breakthrough

Posted: 1/04/2012 00:00

At Rapanui we take transparency and traceability within the fashion industry really seriously, we're passionate about providing consumers with easy to digest information about where and how their clothing is made; so when we were offered the chance to work with the University of the Isle of Wight on a project to create an invisible t-shirt we jumped at the chance; we hope that this innovation can directly affect a rise in transparency in the high street fashion.

In partnership with the University of The Isle of Wight, we took the light transmitting properties of optic fibres and wove a jersey fabric to create an invisible t-shirt. The technology captures light on one side of a garment and relays it on to the opposite side.

The research has been around for a long time but the principle is actually quite simple - to take light from the front of the garment and relay it to the back - and vice versa. Optic fibres are simply light conductive threads. They capture the light in the space immediately surrounding the garment and relay them through the threads. If you can direct this light directly out of the shirt, as we have done, the result is a vivid perception of invisibility.

The University of The Isle of Wight and our Research and Development team worked hard to make the project a success and we hope to develop variants of the fabric for a wide range of applications. It will be quite some time before the technology could come to market, but an early idea that we have would be to make landfill sites invisible; sustainability is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem; we can throw invisible t-shirts in open-air landfill sites - or even just on the street - and nobody will know they are there.

Realistically the application of the project will be useful in a number of fields but the reason we got involved with the project was to raise awareness of the issue of transparency and traceability in fashion; it's easy to demonstrate this; what are you wearing now? Do you know where and how it was made?

It's difficult for consumers to find out that information - we think that traceability and transparency in fashion with allow consumers to make informed decisions about the products that they buy. If we have all the information available to us when we purchase products it is as simple as voting with our wallets - if not we're simply buying blind.

In a recent interview fashion designer Wayne Hemingway spoke of the award-winning eco fashion brand:

"What Rapanui is doing is game changing; they are at the forefront of fashion technology. People will see what they are doing and will want to copy it."

Watch a video of the t-shirt and the science behind it here or share the video or embed it in your website using this link:



www.rapanuiclothing.com/opticfibre

 

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