Processors of leather for use in the fashion industry now have the potential to offer consumers leathers which will cling as tightly but stretch as readily as their own skin.
 
The idea of adding a stretch element to tanned animal skins was mooted at the last Premiere Vision of 2000 and spring 200l sees this adroit marriage of the natural and the technological go fully commercial. In fact, one week after Leather with Lycra had its official debut on the DuPont stand at the Paris textile fair it proved a show-stopper for both Lawrence Steele and Georges Rech on the Milan haute couture catwalks.
 
Indeed the leathers, which behave like fabrics, are already being stretched to their ultimate by designer label users. Cavalero, for example, likes to stretch his leathers to the point where the fabric backing actually shows through the face of the leather.
 
Other recent technological advances pioneered by the DuPont R&D team include manmade nonwoven fabrics that are now available in versions elasticised with a Lycra component. Such fabrics are the brainchild of the recently established Inova business unit operating under the aegis of the Apparel & Sciences division of DuPont.

The new nonwoven can be dyed, coated or bonded to more conventionally constructed fabrics to produce interesting aesthetic effects which are expected to appeal to consumers in the l5-25 age range.
 
Also tipped as having "huge potential" for the young end of the fashion market are yarns and filaments specifically formulated to suit the needs of garment manufacturers working with circular knitting machinery to create seamless garments.
 
By Sonia Roberts.