British textile manufacturer utilises NASA technology

Fashion brand, HotSquash has been utilising hollow-core fiber technology, originally developed by NASA, to push the boundaries of smart materials in fashion. Here's how.

In order to integrate the technology into different types of fabric, Backhouse said it can take up to 18 months to get the properties right for the type of garment - image courtesy of HotSquash.
Originally developed to be used for space suits, HotSquash saw potential in the technology for the textiles sector – image courtesy of HotSquash.

The technology enables consumers to keep warm in the cold and remain cool in the hot, the material also drys quicker and does not crease easily.

Originally developed to be used for space suits, HotSquash saw potential in the technology for the textiles sector, and subsequently developed it to suit a range of different garments.

Dual-purpose fiber technology

HotSquash’s operations manager, Liz Backhouse said to The Manufacturer: “The easiest way to describe it is, it’s like double-glazing.”

She continued: “The technology allows you to trap warm air against the body in the cold, but also the material enables your body to cool down quickly in the heat. When you sweat, moisture is absorbed by fabric, but because these fibers are hollow it evaporates quicker, so therefore you cool down faster.”

The dual-purpose fabric works similarly to ski-wear, as it insulates the body with its multi-channel and hollow fibers which trap the body’s warm air. It is able to cool the body down quicker, as it has a larger surface area enabling more evaporation of moisture to take place.

The basic grade fabric, as Backhouse explained, is imported from Turkey as she said that Britain does not yet have the capability to produce the technology.

In order to integrate the technology and create fabrics with different properties, Backhouse said it can take up to 18 months to get the correct material for a particular type of garment.

Backhouse said that the company aim’s to utilise the technology in all aspects of clothing, from evening to lounge wear: “As far as we know, we are the only company in the UK who are producing womenswear in technology fabrics, that is occasion wear, daywear, office wear, and more.”

HotSquash’s growth as an innovative UK textile manufacturer

The company began eight years ago and always envisioned itself as a “very British company”, aiming to help drive the momentum around fashion manufacturing being brought back (reshored) to the UK.

The company produces its garments entirely in the UK, including design, pattern-making and manufacture - image courtesy of HotSquash.
The company produces its garments entirely in the UK, including design, pattern-making and manufacture – image courtesy of HotSquash.

HotSquash produces its garments entirely in the UK, including design, pattern-making and manufacture.

It may have started out as a small company, but the business now exceeds £10m in profit annually and has secured deals with retail giants Debenhams and Marks & Spencer, and are planning to launch in Germany at the end of the year.

Because of its properties, Backhouse believes hollow-core fiber technology could represent the future of UK textile manufacturing, noting that its double-glazing-esque proporties could very soon become standard.