If apparel brands try to tackle the fear of germs, they might be able to lure their customers back. What if a button-down or your jeans can protect you from the coronavirus? Well, according to research, the COVID-19 is maximally transmitted via droplets of they are air-bore, and these are more deadly that the contaminated clothing or other soft surfaces. Practicing social distancing and covering up with face-masks has been regarded as the most effective way to prevent it.
However, the brands are claiming that their garments and accessories can stop the virus! Be it “Diesel” or “Apposta”, these brands say that their unique clothing destroys bacteria and viruses on contact, thus reducing the speed of contaminations. These brands are betting that such antiviral clothing, which was once meant for medical uniforms or face masks, will be one of the greatest revolutions in the fashion industry.
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Now, it is yet to be seen if the customers are attracted to these claims or not. Diesel is adopting the Polygiene’s fabric treatment to cease viral activity via interactions with proteins. On the other hand, Silver has been using antiviral treatments to eliminate odor-causing bacteria in the fabrics. In different states, the regulations regarding the labels differ. Europe labels fabrics as antiviral or antibacterial, and you will find them of separate standards.
In contrast, only medical products can be labeled antiviral, whereas fabrics can be labeled generally as antimicrobial - indicating they might not necessarily kill viruses. However, such antimicrobial or antiviral labels on fabrics also pose legal issues for brands. For instance, Figs had faced legal problems once when they claimed their fabrics to be antimicrobial and that they can reduce infections. Currently, there should not be illegal and unethical claims by over-enthusiastic companies risking lives to simply get back consumers. Nonetheless, these technologies are exciting and might promote long-term behavioral changes in consumers with respect to cleanliness.
The pandemic has created awareness not only on the novel coronavirus but other germs as well. It is also being said that if such antimicrobial fabrics work effectively, wastage of water can be reduced as one can wash such clothes less frequently. Denim lovers might not want to clean those regularly, but they get odor, molds, and now the virus. Brands are working on getting denim that has the anti-odor chemicals to make it easy for their customers.
Currently, a lot of aspects have to be taken care of in the market. While shopping in a physical store, you need to wear masks and gloves. After you try out some garments, the store-staff need to sanitize each of the garments, every time a customer tries them.
Lastly, although antimicrobial technologies in garments seem very attractive, one must be careful and not drive this craze to unnecessary production and consumption but remain strategic and specific with the technology creations. The other, more straightforward items like masks, gloves, and T-shirts with these innovative executions could be more useful and create a better impact on the customers’ health.