Fabrican's spray-on dress went viral during Paris Fashion Week SS 2023

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Credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

Q&A with fashion week 'spray-on dress' creator Dr Manel Torres

22 December 2022• Written by Lucy Dunn

Imagine a future where the furnishings of your room could be changed at the click of your fingers - or rather, the squirt of an aerosol can. Now, this is no longer a pipedream - all thanks to Dr Manel Torres’ unique spray-on fabric, Fabrican, which hardens when the spray reaches a surface and transforms into a durable material.

Dr Torres’ innovation first came under the spotlight at Paris Fashion Week in October when supermodel Bella Hadid’s dress was sprayed onto her at the Coperni show. Images of her walking down the catwalk in a seamless white creation went viral across the world.

So, what's next for Fabrican? Ahead of his appearance at the Superyacht Design Festival 2023, Dr Torres talks to BOAT about his groundbreaking technology and the myriad of possibilities it has for superyacht design.

Read More/Everything you need to know about the 2023 Superyacht Design Festival
Dr Manel Torres will be speaking at the 2023 Superyacht Design Festival
Credit: Fabrican

Tell us how your spray-on fabric works…

Very simply, Fabrican is a liquid that contains cotton and synthetic fibres suspended in a polymer solution. Depending on the formulation and how it is applied, this evaporates and hardens when it makes contact with a surface. It can be any texture and firmness and it can also be removed and turned back into a liquid, ready to be used again. It comes in any colour and, amazingly, it can also be sprayed as a print. It can also sit onto surfaces including water.

What was your inspiration?

It sounds bizarre, but I was initially inspired by a can of silly string! I studied fashion design and was looking for ways to speed up the process of garment making. I originally wanted to create a spray-on T-shirt but wasn’t sure how, so I went to Imperial College in London, known for their innovations. They liked my idea and gave me resources. After two years, and lots of trial and error, I invented Fabrican.

What can Fabrican be used for?

So many things - clothing, sportswear, cosmetics, automotive and even sterile dressings and plasters for the medical industry! The fabric is sterile so good for bandages. It can also be made to set hard and so could be used as a cast for broken bones. I’ve even invented a formulation which can be sprayed on top of water and used to soak up oil spills.

And how can it help the world of superyachts?

I am really excited about what it can do for the world of interior design. Fabrican can be used to create carpets, curtains, soft furnishings, lighting - even hulls and sails. It can either be used to create whole pieces or for quick on-site repairs. And because the technology is so portable, it can be taken anywhere in the world and used in the tightest of spaces, which makes it an ideal resource for designers.

What would you like to do next?

Firstly, I hope to grow Fabrican to an industrial scale by developing a robotic arm spray system that could quickly create complex forms - anything from clothing to lighting - and operate 24 hours a day. The advantage of this would be to significantly reduce labour and product costs.

I also hope that by spreading the word, the design world will wake up to the many possibilities of Fabrican - to envision what this technology can do for them and how many doors it could unlock. I would love to take them on that journey.

Manel Torres will be sharing his ideas and technology at the Superyacht Design Festival between 8-10 February in Italy.