A new startup is trying to bring the vision of not to be washed fabrics through ODO Denim. ODO Denim claims to have developed the world’s first self-cleaning fabric which repels stains and doesn’t allow bacteria to accumulate.
Founder Salman Chaudry, who hails from Pakistan, says the inspiration behind his project stemmed from that interview with the Levis boss. Unlike the rest of the world, he thought Chip’s assertions made a lot of sense. Having been part of the textile industry for five years, he knew firsthand the water-intensive processes which go into manufacturing a pair of jeans. So he took it upon himself to try and develop a more sustainable solution.
During his research, Salman understood that the two main reasons why people sent their jeans to the wash was simply because of stains and sweat. But water scarcity in places like California, coupled with high costs of laundry, meant that people were urgently looking for a solution.
“If I could eliminate sweat and stains from jeans then people wouldn’t need to send them for washing anymore,” he explains.
After a bit more research, Salman uncovered the fabric that was most similar to the one he had envisioned – a NASA space suit.
“Astronauts wear their space suits constantly without washing them. And the magic element which allows that to happen is silver. So why not use the same silver that’s used in space suits? After all, 200 years ago, people used to put silver in water to make it antibacterial,” explains Salman.
So the fabric of the jeans that Salman makes is meshed with silver. That’s what fends off bacteria. He explains humans basically have no smell – odor is formed from the bacteria that feeds off the sweat. When there is no bacteria, there is no smell.
Thankfully, the ODO jeans won’t set you back a king’s ransom. A pair is currently available for US$95, with early Kickstarter backers set to receive their jeans by the middle of next year. Each will have approximately 10 to 15 grams of silver embedded in them. No, they won’t sparkle.
“We’re weaving silver right inside the fabric, it’s permanent. It’s not a layer or coating on top, it’s a part of the fabric itself. Even if you wash it a hundred times the silver won’t go away. It’ll last for the life of the garment.”
As for its stain repellant features, Salman says the team managed to crack that by playing around with the surface area of the fabric. In normal denim, the surface area is so wide that liquid just penetrates through. What ODO did differently was to integrate nanoparticles, significantly lessening the surface area so that liquid just slides off. It’s survived some heavy-duty tests as well.
After the Kickstarter, Salman says the startup wants to expand to other product categories as well as selling the fabric to mainstream manufacturers. A patent for the design is pending.
“The reason we went to Kickstarter was for concept validation. Our success shows that it’s really resonating with people.”