Around 1995, while caring for his bedridden father, our inventor Jason Chou started researching Clothing Fasteners — he wanted to make his father's garments more comfortable, and easier to wear.
Garments have openings; most use Temporary Clothing Fasteners to fit to form. One such inventions early on was the Shoe-Laces, circa 3500 B.C. Human then progressed through but a handful of fastener inventions, like Pins, Buttons (~ 1200 A.D.), Zipper (1880’s), and Velcro (1950’s). Each innovation brought about new capabilities, and enabled new design & possibilities for wearables.
For his father’s garment, Jason wanted openings that can open & close easily & quickly. Obtrusion against the body should also be minimised. Disappointed that he could not find a suitable offering on market, he put his engineering & textile background to work -- to figure out a “wearable textile with fastening-function built-in.” In a sense, Jason set out to make Hook-&-Loop friendly.
Diverging onto Velcro's story: In 1941 Swiss engineer George de Mestral conceived the Hook-&-Loop Fastener. He was walking his dog in the woods, and returned with burdock burrs stuck on its fur. Inspired by the design he discovered under the microscope, he spent the next ten years experimenting to figure out a mechanised method to reproduce the design. In 1955 he was granted a patent for his “Zipper-less Zipper” invention. He hit the road — Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Cananda, & US — and started peddling.
Unfortunately, for about a decade, there were few takers. Opinion was that it was “cheap” and “impractical.”
Its lucky break came when NASA launched shuttles into space, and nationally televised broadcasts showed Velcro on astronaut suits, and Velcro keeping forks & knifes neatly in place, in zero-gravity space. Enterprising shoe-makers noticed, and applied it to mitigating children’s handicap with shoe-laces.
In all, it took about two decades for hook-&-loop to be generally adopted & enter main-stream service. Which ain’t half-bad, considering its predecessors Zippers & Buttons took much longer.
Back to our project: Jason was granted his first “snapping-fabric” patent in 2006. In the decade hence, experimentation & innovation continued; know-how & patents accumulated; fabric performance improved, and diverse & specialised characteristics developed.
Today we’d like to share our fruit on KickStarter : )
Our Fabric is constituted of 100% polyester micro-fibre. It has two mating sides, bonded back-to-back. The Fibre-side has 3-Denier fibres at nearly 100,000 count per square inch. The Loop-Side is even finer, with density of over 1.3 million counts per square inch.
When mated, very fine fibres get caught & tangled up in even finer loops, and each "tangle" holds a tiny amount of frictional force. Imagine the frictional force in matted dog furs. But, in microscopic proportion (weak individual bond = easy to open), yet multiplied to astronomical density (strength in numbers = super-strong lateral friction).
The fabric has a hand-feel similar to your fleece jacket (which is also 100% polyester). There's absolutely no chemical coating. It is dryer-happy, unlike velcro, because there is no "thermo-formed" hooks to deform by heat. It relies on friction alone to achieve its adhesion. It is easy to care for. And like matted dogs, it lasts a long time.
This fabric has already been granted three successive patents. It has earned the recognition as Top 5 Innovation by ISPO in 2014
A French Hospital use it to comfortably secure toddlers for MRI. A Swiss Sports Physician use it for pressurised cryotherapy for shoulder.
The fabric is real and really awesome. We invite you to suspend your disbelief and try.
Being a foundational innovation, this Fabric has endless possibilities & potentials for open a new dimension to how we wear, what we wear
In this project, we applied it to ~
Muscle Compression. Joint Support. Remedies that have consistently & continually served our bodies well throughout evolution.
Half-century ago, Support Wears took a leap forward in innovation, thanks to the invention of Spandex & Velcro. However, things have stagnated since.
We hope to be the “creative destruction” force to kindle the innnovation engine again.
And, we look forward to hearing from you if you were inspired to apply this fabric to the best way you see fit.
Our goal is make better how we wear, what we wear.
p.s. : The grey-on-grey fabric is already in-house, and we'll be making and sending out samples even during project fund-raising phase. If you have an audience and would like to help us spread the word, please let us know ASAP.