Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 (26 September – 4 October) saw some of the most memorable shows go down in history – Balenciaga’s muddy catwalk, anyone? – but amidst reels of Kanye trodding through the mud was another moment that will live rent-free in our heads for the rest of time: a rather naked Bella Hadid being spray-painted white at Coperni with a white material that later transformed into a dress. If that magical moment made you do a double take, you’re not alone. Here, we find out what Fabrican – the material that was spray painted onto her – is, and why it’s so revolutionary.
On 1 October 2022, supermodel Bella Hadid walked onto an illuminated platform in a white thong with her hands covering her chest at the close of the Coperni Spring 2023 show. She was then joined by two technicians who spray-painted on her body using Fabrican, as Hadid stood elegantly.
Once their job was done, a woman went onto the platform and cleaned up the rough edges of the so-called dress, before finishing it off by fashioning a slit down Hadid’s side. Hadid then walked the ramp in the fitted off-the-shoulder asymmetrical white Fabrican dress, which the audience witnessed with their mouths agape.
View this post on Instagram
Many in the world of fashion were reminded of Alexander McQueen’s Spring 1999 show. During the show, Shalom Harlow was spray-painted on with a white multicoloured dress with black and neon-yellow paint by two robots. She then walked off the runway, dripping in paint.
And while the moment from the Coperni show was just as sensational, the bigger question then, was what the hell this magical material was and how did it become a dress?
Here’s all we know about Fabrican, the material used to create Bella Hadid’s dress
To put it simply, the product is an instant spray-on that’s made of polymers and natural or synthetic fibres. When these materials come in contact with air, they dry up, resulting in a non-woven fabric.
According to Fabrican Ltd, “Fabrican is a patented instant, sprayable, non-woven © Spray-on fabric, based in London, at the London Bioscience Innovation Centre.[sic.]”
Mentioning how the product can be used, the website states: “Spray fabric directly from a bottle on your body, create a seamless T-shirt sprayed instantly from a can and have the ability to spray clothing easily from a spray.”
Not just that, it uses “no ozone-depleting substances, compresses the industrial supply chain, making it more efficient, and reduces reliance on overseas component suppliers, thereby reducing its carbon footprint,” the website adds.
Fabrican in fashion
Technology has brought science and fashion together on numerous occasions and captured the imaginations of many across the industry, especially when it enables designers to create new and unique garments.
For Fabrican, various textures can be achieved by adjusting the composition of the chemical, enabling designers to make impromptu alterations as well as bespoke creations. Fabrican can also include fragrances, active constituents, as well as “conductive materials to interface with information technology.”
When combined with robotic spray technology, Fabrican sprayable technology can help “manufacture seamless sportswear garments, accommodating the creation of complex shapes and an array of designs and colours without the need for expensive or complex retooling.”
Today, all eyes are now on Fabrican to see if it’s truly the future of fashion, or just another gimmick on the runway.
(Hero and featured images: Estrop/Getty Images & bellahadid/Instagram)