Cleaning the Garments of Tomorrow

Cleaning the Garments of Tomorrow
By: Tim Maxwell.
 Tim Maxwell (1)Tim-Maxwell-(1)
After watching a trailer for the new Disney film “Tomorrowland” the other day, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander a little bit into the territory of drycleaning (not the typical perspective of viewers I would guess!). I saw the elaborate (as well as simple) costumes that Hollywood had depicted as the garments worn by us in the future and thought of the typical reaction of those in my industry towards new fashions as they arrive for care in order to revive them to their “good as new” appearance.

Unique or exotic trim components, abstract color appliques, foreign fabric construction techniques, and the like usually result in a “glass half empty” perspective by those of us charged with the cleaning and care of garments that may require special handling in relation to typical shirts, pants, jackets, and blouses handled by the hundreds every day.

It seems to me though, that the more successful professional garment care providers tend to be those that embrace their ability to revitalize the most intricate of fashion as their competitive edge over those that turn away the consumer through communication that doesn’t provide the customer with confidence that their cherished possession will be appropriately cared for.

The successful operators seem to be the ones you see in the aisles of the industry trade shows as they explore new machinery and process improvements that produce clean – refreshed garments with less energy and utility usage. Technologies like the Xeros Bead Cleaning System that utilizes tiny polymer beads in the laundry process to reduce up to 80 % of the water used in a typical wash – while producing a cleaner oxford shirt. (xerosltd.com).

“Drycleaning” machines that utilize a vapor / steam / detergent combination to clean clothing that would be a challenge in traditional wet cleaning processing. Cold-filtration GreenEarth Cleaning (greenearthcleaning.com) machines that reduce all utilities inputs to fractions of standard water, electricity, and natural gas required by traditional distillation machines – allowing for softer and fresher smelling garments.

The forward thinking members of the drycleaning and laundry industry are looking farther down the road then the next stop sign…who knows what garments will be worn by the consumers of tomorrow ? Will the suit jacket worn by your best customer double as a wifi hotspot ? Will her husband have a blazer that includes a music library, GPS capability, and double as an air purifier for protection from other passengers on the subway? (The New Wearable Clothing – GPS World).

The current trend towards more distinct fashions (particularly geared towards males – a category that has lagged behind female fashion over the past decade or so)  presents a “glass half full” opportunity for the best service providers in the fabric care industry to strut their stuff. Technologies exist today to care for the more adventuresome fashions being contemplated by the designers of clothing for tomorrow.

The consumers of tomorrow will expect the garment to not be damaged in cleaning…they will also put forward the requirement for the most sustainable after care as a “need to have” not a “nice to have”. The good news is that the informed after care professional of “Tomorrowland” has great opportunity to distance him or herself from the drycleaner that doesn’t embrace the evolution of fashion!



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