With Millennials lacking basic needlework skills and only thinking of Twitter when you say ‘thread’ – someone had to come up with a sewing solution that is so easy, even the laziest among us would have no excuse.
Researchers at D-IT in Paris have created a detergent that can infiltrate torn or damaged clothing fibers and enable them to re-attach. Just use cold water, a spoonful of Mendy (provisional name) and 25 minutes later your sweater will really be as good as new! Mendy was developed from an elementary fabric coating made of squid proteins, which debuted in labs back in 2016.
It’s not just a nifty household product to have, though. With millions of tons of clothing ending up in landfills each year, the hope is that consumers will extend the wear of the products they buy. The apparel industry contributes hugely to CO2 emissions and uses vast quantities of water, so it’s also a question of sustainability.
The D-IT team also want to investigate the flip side and aim to create a pourable liquid that will speed up the decomposition of organic textiles in the future. As the lead scientist Prof Rontieux says, “Fast fashion is a large and complex problem that will take a long time to address. Therefore our next intervention point is to improve the recycling process.”
Military use cases, such as a Mendy-derived protective coating on suits and uniforms that can activate the textile repair process when exposed to human saliva, are creating a buzz too. Apparently commanders are very keen to incorporate it in order to protect their men from hazmat in the ongoing war against terror.