Stretching the imagination: how Lycra® found its way into our spa uniforms

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What did we do before Lycra ®? It’s everywhere! It’s in your jeans, your swimsuit and your jogging bottoms. It’s found its way into socks and T-shirts. Hey, it’s even in your pants.

The answer came from an unexpected source on Tuesday night in the form of the latest episode of BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee, who revealed that the world before Lycra® contained a surprising amount of rubber.

Given that the prime use of rubber was in underclothes in the 50s – and we’re talking here about that unfathomably popular item, the girdle – well, you can imagine the discomfort, not to mention the perspiration…

With the demise of the girdle (hurrah!), Lycra nearly had its day – but Pineapple Dance Studio’s Founder Debbie Moore came up with the idea of combining cotton with Lycra® in order to create dance and fitness wear that was comfortable, washable and avoided the dreaded saggy bottom. As with all good ideas, it caught on like wildfire, and give rise to a whole swathe of garments that were attractive (OK, not in all cases) and comfortable.

We salute Debbie, because she is very much a pioneer and a woman after our own heart. It’s nearly six years since our very own Debbie (Leon, our MD) took matters into her own hands when spa owners observed that their beauty therapy uniforms needed a specific fabric in order to withstand the special conditions of their environment – yet still be fresh and stylish.

Fashionizer in partnership with European fabric mills then embarked on two years of research and development – the result of which was our Cotton Performance Fabric, which contains 3% Lycra®, along with organic cotton. CPF delivers all the properties that we were aiming for: it’s breathable, crease-resistant and, because of its soil release qualities, it’s washable at high temperatures. The Lycra ® content makes it a very flexible fabric, which, for therapist uniforms, makes it extremely comfortable.

The journey of Lycra® continues. As Lycra® is a fibre and not a fabric per se, its uses are adaptable.  The company that now makes it, Invista, has recently teamed up with cosmetics firm Rimmel to create a mascara and a nail polish that both incorporate the Lycra® technology. Watch this space for the next Lycra ® development…

·         You can see the episode of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC iPlayer.  The segment on Lycra is at 9m 40secs.

·         See what our customers have to say about our exclusive CPF fabric here


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