FrontDespite those Raf Simons lab coats, science and fashion rarely cross paths. One is driven by the search for rational progress; the other, by a history of emotion and reference. Furthermore, when the streams do cross, it can get Ghostbusters bad: rather than starting from the ground up, most apparel with “technical” functions is oversold to the point of nausea, employing flashy scenes of commuters in snowstorms to move pieces that are practically no more utilitarian than checking the Weather app before you leave home.
Water-resistant fleece sweatpants? “Winterized” canvas sneakers? Since when does innovation come in a spray-on can? In a world where a glass rectangle in your pocket holds all of human knowledge, dressing in layers of dead plants just looks a little old-fashioned.
However, even the most marketing-savvy traditional brands are merely swimming in the wake. Instead of hawking post-production tweaks as fabric innovation, a select group of apparel brands both large and small are leading the charge towards materials science breakthroughs that can – and do – shift the world at large.
You already know Nike and adidas; now, it’s time to meet the rest. Science and fashion may rarely cross paths, but for these 10 industry leaders, both are traveling at the speed of light.
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