The apparel industry has come a long way in the field of lingerie development both in terms of style and the technology. From being the mere restrictive garment to becoming a full-fledged garment category, affected by styles, trends and cultures, lingerie has experienced a transition that only a few garment categories might have gone through.
The new spacer bra technology is another addition to the lingerie evolution, where a fashionably comfortable change has taken the industry by storm.
To better understand the technology, let us first understand the fabric behind it all.
What is Spacer Fabric?
Spacer fabric is a 3D fabric in essence, with 2 independently knittedfabrics that are joined with each other, and at the same time kept apart from each other by spacer yarns. Spacer is a highly breathable, cushioned, multi-faceted fabric, used in the practical making of a wide variety of products.
So, the first layer is hydrophilic for moisture release, the second one hydroscopic for heat dissipation and the spacer layer for air flow. This unique 3D structure facilitates flexibility through air flow, light weight shape support and breathability with compression resistance and recovery.
How is it made?
Understanding the creation and production process of Spacer fabric is paramount to understanding what Spacer fabric actually is. Unlike regular, 2D fabrics, Spacer uses two separate fabrics, joined by microfilament yarn, to create a breathable, 3D “microclimate” between layers. Heat and vapor leave the body, moving to this highly permeable layer. Then, the cool air provided by this naturally ventilating pushes out the heat and vapor, providing temperature control and maximum air circulation
Why is Spacer Fabric getting traction in Lingerie field?
Most bras, to ensure elasticity and shape hold, are made up of fabrics that don’t allow much breathability. Lightweight, breathable fabric bras generally don’t offer that much support, so underwire, additional padding, and many such components are added to provide support, but they lead to discomfort, sweating, etc.
Spacer fabric can address these issues by providing comfort of a breathable fabric along with the desired support, without any additional components. Use of this fabric in the bra design creates a surface with less friction, less irritation and less discomfort. The only issue is the transparency of the mesh fabric structure.
What Inspired the Spacer Bras
Most women can’t wait to get out of their bra by day’s end, but this shouldn’t be the case – and it no longer is thanks to spacer bras. The main issue with other bra styles is that many of them are made of fabrics that simply aren’t breathable. They cause you to sweat, irritation and are way too confining. On the contrary, you may prefer lightweight bras but generally, they don’t offer the support that every lady needs because you need the extra fabric, underwire, padding and additional components to keep you held up. Immediately, the lightweight components are eliminated. These common problems associated with bras are essentially what inspired the creation of spacer bras.
The Advanced Technology
With even more careful consideration put into the design of the spacer bra, the technology of the craftsmanship became much more advanced than anything you’ve ever seen in a bra before. Spacer bras are now created with a dual-layer mesh fabric that is folded over three times in every which way, and sewn together precisely. This instantly gets rid of the ‘too revealing’ concern that some women had with previous designs. This is also what causes the air pockets, which are essentially what allows the bra to feel weightless and makes it even more breathable. As for the fabric used, it was designed to feel like a flexible foam, or what is often described as feeling like nothing at all; like you’re literally wearing nothing at all. It’s heaven under your shirt. The final touch added into the design of the spacer bra technology was the soft fabric that is placed on both sides to enhance the comfort of the bra even more.
Due to the unique craftsmanship and advanced technology incorporated into spacer bras, proper circulation is emphasized, which prevents moisture from accumulating under the bra, which can create boob sweat and discomfort. The stitching is also so precise that the spacer bra doesn’t require an abundance of TLC to keep its supportive shape. An added benefit to that is that they’re extremely easy to wash and even easier to wear. So there is no reason why you should be dreading having to wear a bra ever again. The spacer bra technology has taken care of those common problems and concerns and created a flawless design that your breasts will fall in love with.
PU v/s. Spacer Fabric
Spacer fabrics can also be used to replace PU foam because they have better heat and moisture exchange characteristics (Annon, 2001: Schmirnoff and Weinrich, 2006).
PU or Polyurethane cups are the most widely used in the industry. It has low density, is cheap, has respectable elastic recovery, with heat resistance and it can easily be cut into any desired thickness. But PU cups can easily get glazed and discoloured at high temperature and pressure (especially during moulding).
There are many advantages that spacer cups offer above the traditional PU cups being used in bras, like:
- Better heat and moisture exchange properties of the spacer cup,
- Elimination of lamination and boding processes of producing PU moulded cups, as spacer fabrics can be produced in a single process,
- Excellent compression cushioning and elasticity,
- High air permeability (breathability),
- Good draping properties,
- Good bending performance,
- Aging resistance,
- Adjustable vapour transport,
- Diverse surface design capabilities,
- Low bulk density,
- Good surface and wash resistance, &
- Sterilization capabilities.
Hence, we can establish if the cup properties and user comfort and preferences are concerned, spacer cups are far better than PU cups. In addition to the cushiony comfortable feel, these cups can be knitted in varied thicknesses as per the target customer preferences. Spacer fabric can even be used on the bra wings, especially in bigger sizes to provide additional breathability and this grows their potential for use in sports bras.
The only drawback here being the higher price form the traditional PU cups, due to the complex manufacturing process, and comparatively new technology.
So what will be your pick, PU or Spacer fabric?