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Meet the World’s First Wearable, Washable Gold-Coated Fabric

A London-based company is giving cashmere a run for its money in the fine fabrics race.

Farotex has entered the fray with 24-karat gold fabric and leather suitable for use in both the apparel and home textiles industries.

While clothing woven from or decorated with gold is nothing new (see “Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection,” currently on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through June), Farotex has developed a method—called magnetron sputtering—for applying precious metals to textiles without changing their original properties.

According to the company’s website, processing takes place in mild, low temperature plasma conditions, allowing the materials to retain air and moisture permeability, drapability and tensile strength. The coating is resistant to dry and wet friction, washing and dry cleaning, and the coated materials can be sewn, glued and soldered. In addition, metalized materials produced this way are non-toxic and safe for humans.

This means that a range of natural and synthetic fabrics, nonwovens, artificial leather and polymer films can now be made from gold and other metals or alloys on an industrial scale, without fear of the application wearing away, flaking or fading. Not to mention, products can be washed and cleaned the same as any other non-metalized materials.

In addition to 24-karat gold fabric, Farotex’s product range also includes silk coated with aluminum or titanium nitride, organza coated with aluminum and polyester coated with titanium nitride or titanium dioxide.

The company hasn’t publicly disclosed how much a roll of these metalized materials will set a brand back, but prices are available on request.