9 seriously stylish fashion science stories of 2022

Everyone wears clothes – so whether you’re an Instagram addict or you grab the t-shirt at the top of your drawer every morning, textiles and fashion are influencing your life.

From the science of textiles in space, to the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, Cosmos covered some fascinating fashion stories this year. Let’s take a look back at our favourites…

1. Putting the squeeze on casual spacewear

Space travel fashion presents new challenges – finding clothes which shrink and enlarge as people’s bodies change and, oh, there’s no laundry on the space station.

In this article, we look at the aerospace engineering, medical, textile science, biology and nursing experts pooling their talents to produce skinsuits capable of carrying the human body through the rigours of long-duration spaceflight.

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2. When you’re finished with fashion, where does it go?

Recycling fabrics isn’t as easy as we’d like – and op shops – while streets better than landfill, aren’t a closed loop for our clothes either. We explore why it’s so hard to recycle clothes, and what can be done to improve things.

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3. Digital fashion and the Metaverse: a new way for people to experience fashion

Is screen wear the new street wear?

As people spend more time online – in meetings, social media and video games – clothing brands and designers are increasingly interweaving digital design with physical fashion.

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Virtual fashion is becoming a reality / Credit: Coneyl Jay / The Image Bank / Getty Images

4. What is fast fashion, and what role do consumers play in it?

The phrase “fast fashion” is ubiquitous in some circles, and completely unheard of in others – so what exactly is fast fashion, and why is it a problem?

In this two-part series, we explore the mechanics of fast fashion, why consumers need to be involved in slowing it down, and how this can best be achieved.

Read more: Part 1 and Part 2.

5. Winter Olympic fashion: what properties does your fabric need?

Equipment technology can vary wildly from sport to sport, but there’s one thing every athlete needs: clothes. Over the past century, a tremendous amount of scientific research has been poured into finding fabrics that improve performance.

So, what have the researchers found? A lot of their discoveries were on show at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing last February.

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Snowboarder in mid-air in tiger suit
France’s Lucille Lefevre snowboarded in a tiger suit, after a knee injury prevented her from doing tricks. Credit: Catherine Ivill / Getty Images

6. Sustainable fashion: Seven steps to unpick unsustainable trends

A sustainable and responsible fashion and textile sector involves seven pattern pieces, according to a report published during Melbourne Fashion Week.

The authors list seven action items: reducing consumption, banning ‘finished goods’ like clothing from landfill, investing in education, governments leading by example, recycling and reuse, tracking and tracing, and stronger producer responsibility.

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7. Short shift: Fashion week research on how the ’60s and ’70s rocked Australia’s clothing industry

It was the dress that shocked a nation and signalled an industrial revolution.

When sixties model Jean Shrimpton attended the 1965 Melbourne Cup dressed in a simple white shift hemmed well above the knee – with no gloves or stockings – the outfit immediately sparked scandal.

The moment encapsulates a series of cultural, social, economic and technological shifts underway in Australia, together which led to the unravelling of the local clothing manufacturing industry.

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1960s fashion / Credit: Flickr user Diego Sideburns licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

8. Mapping the labour and slavery risks in fashion supply chains

How did your clothes get to you, and who was properly paid for them in the process?

The garment industry is notorious for worker exploitation and complicated, unclear supply chains.

So how do you even begin to investigate it? Cosmos takes a look in this article.

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9. How technology and science are helping transform fashion from unsustainable to on-demand

Much needs to be done to lead the fashion industry away from its wasteful past to a sustainable future.

Like with so many industries, some answers (but not all – brands and consumers need to make some uncomfortable decisions too) lie with fashion adopting technological and science-based solutions to some of its most wasteful and unsustainable practices.

Read more.

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