The Pandemic has reshaped pretty much everything about us. It has been over a year since the virus continues to influence every decision and action. We have entered into a new age, with its own boons and banes. The changes that have dawned upon us are not going anywhere soon.
The fashion industry is all about quickly adapting to trends and changes, besides other things. The pandemic has coaxed an interesting response from the fashion industry, prompting it to rise to the occasion. Different brands, casual or luxury, are thinking about bringing antiviral collections into the market. There is potential scope for this blooming into a lucrative business- the manufacture and sale of antiviral clothing. It would be wrong to assume that covid alone has something to do with this. The pre-covid era did spend some valuable thoughts on building technologies and manufacturing safe clothing. What we see now is a further development with newer thoughts and newer innovations, to address the new normal.
Covid19 has made people more cautious about health and hygiene. Using sanitizers has gone global like never before. Masks and Gloves are no longer only for doctors and patients. People are seeking protective layers for security against the virus. The market now abounds in ‘Covid Items’ which get out of stock in no time. Not only for just business, but the market also has to cater to these demands for protection.
Responding to the shifting demand of the clients, many brands are coming up with ideas for antiviral clothing. There is buzz that a leading Italian fabric manufacturer, Albini Group, has developed an antiviral fabric. We don’t have to go that far yet to assess the antiviral trend in fashion. Just look around. The person standing next to you is probably wearing a customized mask. Masks have become increasingly integrated into our wardrobes. We have moved into the phase where, beyond the necessity, masks have become a part of our dress-ups. The market has studied this behaviour too well. The storefronts now have mannequins wearing masks as essential apparel accessories.
The global medical world has been a ready market for antiviral and antimicrobial garments. But for obvious reasons, the medical textile industry is witnessing an upsurge in demand for antiviral qualities in fabrics. There are too many customers in this sector. The temptation is too great to ignore. If the technology is built and availed, there is a high chance of this becoming a lucrative business opportunity.
There are brands that have already developed anti-odor casual wear which is resistant to microbes and bacteria. Thomas Mason, the owner of the Albini Group, presents the VIROFORMULA fabric, using the HeiQ Viroblock technology (from the Swiss textile innovation firm). The resultant fabric claims to be protective against viruses and bacteria. This is a cutting-edge technology aiming to reduce the risk of contamination and re-transmission. The fabric is ideal for all kinds of clothing, especially T-shirts, Jackets, Trousers, and of course Masks.
Denim brand Diesel is planning to implement a virus-fighting technology too in its upcoming collection. The brand has collaborated with Polygiene, the Swedish firm that is the maker of ViralOff. As claimed, ViralOff is 99% effective in fighting off the virus in just two hours after the pathogens come in contact with the fabric. Diesel is aiming to pick up this technology for its own style in 2021.
Activewear brands like Under Armour and Live! Have decided to proceed with antiviral technology for their clothing line. As gyms are reopening, people are seeking for extra protection while working out.
Peter England, from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, has already launched a range of antiviral shirts and masks. The company is gearing up to launch Neem Tulsi Collection, which is going to use a technology called Enliven. Here the fabric is treated with pure neem and tulsi herbs to give the clothes antimicrobial resistance.
While antiviral clothing has become the talk of the town, there is no reason why you and I shouldn’t be skeptical. Debates are that about how far these brands are effective. The more important question, however, is how far are these necessary? Many find these brand actions to be mere opportunistic. Since covid19 spreads from person to person via droplets, covering the face is ideal enough to prevent its spread. Transmission through clothes and other objects is still unrecorded. So why spend a fortune on building these technologies that might not be as relevant as it sounds? Only time can answer all the questions.
Keeping all doubts aside, we can all concur at a point that the antiviral trend has penetrated deep into our minds. There is no way we can think otherwise now. The brands are trying to address the security expectations of the customers. And they have enough reasons to be confident about winning us over with their antiviral clothing.