Thanks to its elasticity and inclination to mutate, Lycra anticipates the fluidity typical of fashion in the modern era. Such fabric has very interesting origins, starting from the ‘Fiber K’ nickname used by American textile chemist John Shivers in 1958 to patent it for orthopedic corsets. It’s the beginning of a process that forty years later, in 1962, led to the birth of Spandex, better known as Lycra in the market of female stockings. To be precise, Lycra – its most common name – was the one adopted by DuPont, that through the 20th century, it emerged to promote synthetic fibers able to change fashion history.
Lycra is made of segmented polyurethane fibers in which elastic parts deal with rigid ones. When relaxed, the elastic portions are gathered, while under tension they stretch, becoming longer: the presence of the rigid segments aims to limit tensions, avoiding the possibility for polyurethane to get broken. The elastic portions favor their gathered structure and tend to recreate it; when tension fades, as a consequence, the fibers find their original length again.
After its debut in a merely medical realm, between the Seventies and the Eighties Lycra emerges as a breakthrough fiber in the fashion industry. A moment in which Italian handcraft makes the difference as an innovative material, starting right from FILA researches. In 1976 Italian designer Pierluigi Rolando develops, along with the company, an extremely elastic fiber, elastic to the point that athletes often felt they didn’t wear them: right this peculiarity inspires the birth name ‘Pelle d’uovo’ (‘egg skin’). Such invention finds its perfect dimension with FILA’s Aqua Timeline, caressing the human body reshaping its beauty and athletic attitudes. And with the launch of Snow Time and the very first ski suits, Lycra becomes the protagonist on ski slopes, marking an experimental era for technical fabrics. Nowadays, with the help of the most modern materials, FILA’s urban looks are futuristic street suits, adopting fluidity as a physical and conceptual symbol for a new generation.
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