LOOK Excellence winter cycle clothing – first look
This full-length glove is another item decorated with the brand’s signature Mondrian-esque stylings.
Of greater interest to the cyclist attempting to stave off frostbite in the recent plummeting temperatures, however, will be its claims for insulation and water resistance.
For the first, LOOK would doubtless highlight their use of a silicone-coated Hipora fabric as a membrane. Elsewhere, they’ve deployed Thinsulate fabric, which we’re hoping will serve us well in the weeks and months ahead.
The Winterfall glove has a robust design with gel padding in the palm and a coating on the thumb, index and middle finger, presumably for grip.
There’s a deep cuff, secured with a velcro fastener, and the back of the thumb is covered with a velour-like substance, which should serve well as a nose wipe.
Reflective detailing is in plentiful supply on the back, including the LOOK logo below the index finger, and a block design on the index finger.
What Is Taffeta Fabric?
Taffeta is a crisp, lightweight fabric that is commonly used to make a variety of types of high-end women's apparel. This plain woven fabric is smooth to the touch, and it can be made from a variety of different materials.
The word "taffeta" is derived from tafta, which means "twisted woven" in Persian. While it's true that taffeta fabric is made by twisting yarn as it is woven, many other fabrics are also made with this method, which means that the starched and shape-retaining qualities of taffeta are more representative of its unique attributes than its name.
Traditionally, taffeta was made from silk, but with the advent of synthetic fibers in the 20th century, textile manufacturers started making this fabric from materials like rayon and polyester. While it's still possible to find silk taffeta fabric, it's much more common to find versions of this fabric that are made from polyester.
While the term "taffeta" has been used to describe lightweight silk garments for close to a thousand years, it's unclear whether the taffeta of the distant past resembled the type of fabric that goes by this name today. This fabric shows up multiple times throughout history; for instance, it's reported that tabby cats were originally named for their resemblance to a certain type of striped taffeta fabric.
Taffeta was also used in certain aviation experiments during the 18th century. In recent times, taffeta fabric has even been used in artificial blood vessel experiments due to its paper-thin texture and durability.
One of taffeta fabric's most notable attributes is its shape retention. Many other thin fabrics tend to lose their shape as they are worn, but taffeta's starched texture makes it possible to shape this fabric into a number of different forms that don't deform or become distorted over the course of an evening.
When taffeta is worn, it produces a relatively noisy rustle due to its crispness. Depending on the type of taffeta that is worn, this fabric may produce an iridescent effect when its wearer moves, or its paper-thin texture may be caught on every current of air that moves through a room. This fabric's unique qualities have earned it a position in public perception as a luxury textile, and this perception has persisted even as traditional taffeta fabric materials, such as silk, have been widely replaced with polyester and rayon.
How Is Taffeta Fabric Made?
This type of fabric is made with a variety of different techniques depending on the type of material that is used in its production. Silk production, for instance, involves the cultivation and harvesting of silkworm cocoons. This process is highly environmentally sustainable, but it results in the deaths of silkworms.
Once silkworm cocoons are boiled, they are unraveled or "reeled," and the resulting thread is then soaked in a mild, non-toxic solution. Finally, this thread is spun into yarn, and it may be dyed at this point. However, certain types of taffeta fabric are dyed after a bolt of fabric has already been woven.
While some taffeta fabric is made from semi-synthetic substances like cuprammonium rayon, it's much more common to find this product made from polyester. Since polyester is a fully synthetic textile fiber, its production process varies widely from that which is used to make silk.
Polyester is derived from a compound called ethylene, which is a constituent part of petroleum. This ethylene is reacted with dimethyl terephthalate at a high temperature, which produces a monomer alcohol. This monomer is then combined with terephthalic acid to produce the polymer known as polyester.
This molten substance is then extruded through a slot and allowed to cool into long ribbons. These ribbons are then chipped, and they are melted again. Next, this molten polyester is extruded through a spinneret, and the resulting strands of textile fiber are allowed to cool before they are stretched in a process called "drawing." Lastly, the drawn polyester fibers are dyed or subjected to flame retardant or antistatic treatments.
Once raw textile fiber is acquired, taffeta fabric can be formed with either hand weaving or an industrial weaving machine. A special twisting procedure is used to provide the crisp and lightweight qualities of this fabric. Depending on the type of taffeta fabric that is produced, it may be dyed before or after weaving.
The Why and How of Stretch Fabrics
It is common to associate stretch fabric with spandex, however the story of what makes fabric stretchy is a bit more complex. In this article, I hope to touch on some aspects of why and how fabrics can be stretchy for anyone interested in considering fabric and fibers more closely.