Week 9 - Nanotechnology in Fashion and Cosmetics - Miki Koga

As a girl studying the sciences I look for ways that science can be applied to my other interests, like fashion. Lucky for me, nanotechnology has entered the fashion world. Fabrics coated with nanotech-engineered molecules have been labeled the textile of the future. We all love our staple cotton, silk, and wool shirts and sweaters, but synthetic fabrics add to our design options and moreover, improve performance. By synthetic fibers, I am not referring to the polyester of 70’s disco wear, but to the smaller, softer fibers of today’s textile technology. These high-tech microfibers enhance performance as far as durability and more wears between washings. We can say goodbye to wrinkles and stains with nanotech-enhanced clothing. This is simply the beginning to applications of the technology on the horizon.

Nanotech Fashion

Nanotech Fashion


Nanotechnology on the Catwalk

Nanotechnology on the Catwalk

Fashion may be considered frivolous and transient, especially in such an economically dire time. However, we have something revolutionary in our hands. Take for example, the fashion designers and fiber scientists at Cornell University who created a silver-infused, cotton dress that prevents colds and flu. The antibacterial silver particles resist soiling so the garment need not be washed. Using electrostatically charged nanoparticles that protectively coat fibers, the team even designed a garment that destroys hazardous gases and shields smog and air pollution. What I find interesting is how the garments’ colors do not come from dyes, but from reflections of manipulating particle size or arrangement. Besides making a fashion statement, such clothing can help us as it gives an entirely new meaning to functionality.

L'Oreal

L'Oreal

Science in the cosmetic industry is apparently nothing knew. On Thursday’s lecture Professor Gimzewski himself repeatedly mentioned how L’Oreal is a leader in using nanotechnology to continuously improve their products. While many of their consumers seldom inquire about the technology behind the products, L’Oreal apparently invests in much scientific research. They devote “3 percent of its annual sales to research, making the cosmetic group one of the most prolific patentees in the world”. In fact, the company’s nanocapsules have been in their market since 1995, which is long before the ‘nano’ prefix became popularized in other fields. The company works with labs belonging to France’s National Center for Scientific Research and has long developed a tiny polymeric shell that can guide active ingredients to specific places in the skin. These nanocapsules seep into the deeper layers of the skin, improving anti-aging and other beauty properties.

Nanotechnology really is all around us and is improving many aspects of our lives. I find it very exciting that it is establishing a prominent role in both the fashion and cosmetic industry. Making a career out of nano-textile research would be amazing. I believe in combining my interests and talents to invest in something I love, and this brilliant collaboration is making that possible.

For more information, check out these articles:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May07/nanofibers.fashion.aj.html
http://www.dexigner.com/fashion/news-g2395.html
http://www.smalltimes.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=5236

By: Miki Koga

Comments are closed.