The project explores the impact of home working on clothing needs post coronavirus, a series of new materials is developed for seamlesswear, that fulfil the functions – hybridity, visual amazement, safety and protection, and health and wellbeing.
The need for new textiles in post COVID-19 era is explored in a fascinating new Water-repellent Seamless Textiles project, a collaboration between seamless knitting machinery manufacturer Santoni Shanghai and design consultants Studio Eva X Carola.

Working from home.

Eva de Laat began by explaining how Millions of people are now working from home due to COVID-19. According to newspapers like The Guardian, this could lead to a permanent shift towards working from home for many employees once the pandemic is over. Employers are realising the many benefits of working from home, such as higher productivity and savings of over $11,000 per person.
The figures for the increase in home working post pandemic are staggering, especially in large populations like the USA. Living in the ‘new normal’ is already having a massive impact on the clothing we wear.
Eva de Laat continues: “This rapidly growing trend means there’s a demand for clothing to wear when working from home. For efficiency and comfort, the majority of home workers tend to wear the same clothes throughout the day. But the day is still divided into different activities. This means there’s a need for clothing that is multifunctional and fulfils different needs at once.”

Feeling comfortable, looking good

“With less occasions to dress up for, one of the major things people are now looking for is comfort. Sales of loungewear, one of the most comfortable clothing categories, have risen significantly since the pandemic started. According to the advertising company Criteo, who analysed 2 billion consumers worldwide, Australia saw a 184% rise in loungewear sales, Korea 80% and Italy 79% respectively,” Eva enlightens.

Engineered Hybridity

The work from home lifestyle demands clothing that can deliver several functions at once. This requires a new kind of hybrid material that, for example, is not only waterproof but is also breathable, combining areas that are stretchy with areas that are more rigid.
“Usually knitted materials are stretchy and suitable for draping over the body. With this textile we did something different: we made the material rigid and non-stretch, giving us the option of engineering both non-stretch and stretch areas,” Eva de Laat explains.
“By combining the right yarns, structures and machine set up we created a dense, woven-like, water repellent material. This yarn has been engineered from the core, resulting in a longer lasting water repellent effect when compared to the usual method of creating water repellency by adding coatings in post processing. Our approach leads to a higher value product, built from the yarn up, that results in a true design element,” she adds.
Eva further explained that Due to the smart interplay with microstructure, the inside and outside show a slight 3D effect. This gives a beautiful embossed appearance whilst, at the same time, helping to further improve breathability.
For visual amazement, a more sustainable approach and a lighter weight result, they have been working with yarn-dyed materials and a smart utilisation of the machine’s plaiting function. The microstructures used also allow for easy personalisation and a single-piece bulk production process.
This approach leads to a versatile mid-to-outer layer material. Other areas where they see possibilities are, indoor and outdoor furniture / home textiles, lightweight easy-to-carry shopping bags and footwear.

Hunter, B. (2020, July 8). Retrieved from https://www.knittingindustry.com/creative/new-textiles-for-the-new-normal-a-collaboration-between-santoni-shanghai-and-studio-eva-x-carola/