When we put on a jacket, boots, skirt, or pair of pants, we instinctively go straight to the zipper to fasten things up. But zippers weren’t always around, so how did zippers revolutionize the fashion industry? Let’s see take a look at how it all started and where it is today.
Before we delve deep into the zipper’s rise to prominence, it’s nice to understand its storied history, so let’s take a brief glimpse at how the zipper came about. It all started with a man the fashion industry owes great gratitude to, Elias Howe. The innovator deserves high praise for inventing the sewing machine, but five years later, he created the “automatic continuous clothing closure,” known as the zipper.
From that point on, the concept of the zipper worked its way through two more men. Whitcomb Judson made the “clasp locker” to help aching individuals bend over and fasten their shoes. Whitcomb’s lead engineer, Gideon Sundback, made the teethlike zipper we see today.
Who would have guessed that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand would have led to one of the great fashion marvels in history? While that wasn’t a direct cause-and-effect correlation, it wasn’t until World War I that the B.F. Goodrich company saw the value in this mechanism. And when an executive working with Goodrich heard the sound it emanated, the word “zipper” became a part of the lexicon.
The “rubber king” put the zipper on boots and other equipment for the troops, proving its value on clothing items and gear. The zipper gained traction in the 1930s when it appeared on children’s clothing as a way for kids to dress themselves. The praise of the zipper traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, where French fashion designers put it on gentleman’s pants to keep everything together.
Not only is the zipper important to the fashion world, but without it, we wouldn’t have some of the common items in today’s world. It was a key part of designing resealable bags and Velcro.
Today, there are three versions of the zipper you will find on items ranging from luggage to pants. Learning what they are and where they are most commonly used can help you if you need a replacement.
The old-school metal zipper still has its place in the fashion world some 100-odd years later. Luckily, there have been advances in it since its inception. The best thing the metal zipper has going for it is its appearance. The metallic look distinguishes it from other zips and is a vital component for several types of items that are leather or denim.
Designers shy away from metal zips if the item is continuously used because of its lack of flexibility. However, using a metal zipper is the correct choice for items that you seldom wear or that need an edge to them.
There are many variations of coil zippers, with invisible (concealed) zips being the most common. It gets its name because the zipper hides behind the tape, concealing its teeth from the naked eye. You will most likely see this type of zip on skirts and dresses, although they are also prominent in the military and medical field.
In contrast to other kinds of zips, which often employ thicker woven materials on the tape, ordinarily, invisible zips use lighter, lace-like textiles, making them ideal for various pieces of apparel. There is another form of an invisible zip, dubbed the invisible identical zip. The identical zipper is a reversed coil zip that disappears. You will see these fasteners on items that require a larger gauge than what genuine invisible zips offer.
As time went on, the plastic zipper gained steam because of the colorful options for fashion designers, and no one had to worry about a plastic zipper snagging their clothes. The molded polymer material helps make the zip more durable and water resistant. One drawback of the plastic zipper is that it’s expensive due to the material it requires to manufacture.
You can find plastic zippers on jackets, waterproof boots, children’s clothing, and stationery items. They are popular on items targeted toward children because of their custom colors, giving boring school items and clothing some added flair.
With an idea of the types of zippers you see on clothing in your mind, it’s time to consider these fashion tips when you don a zipper-laden article of clothing.
The more a zipper can contour your body, the better off you will be. You don’t want to distort parts of your body from a zipper being in the wrong place. Instead, you can use midline zippers to your advantage, giving you a slimmer appearance. Additionally, zippers can give an optical illusion of lengthening your body to make you look taller than you are.
One thing that makes zippers useful is they allow for constant customization. If you need to look professional, you can take it to the top for the business look. And if you are heading out on the town with your friends, you can be more fashionable. Regardless of the occasion, skirts, shoes, tops, or coats can look the part, giving you confidence in your stylish look.
In tune with the customization aspect of zippers, it benefits you to find a knee-length zip for a front skirt. This zipper style has two pulls rather than one, providing several options for finding the length you desire. You can wear the same skirt for multiple occasions and look different every time.
Assuming you are not the next “King of Pop,” the odds are you aren’t going to make a leather jacket with an abundance of zippers look cool. Thus, don’t overdo it when making or purchasing items with several zippers, and avoid wearing multiple items with a cornucopia of zips. The best strategy is to mix and match your style. If you have a leather jacket with zippers all over it, opt for a standard pair of pants or a simple skirt. Look in the mirror and use your best judgment on if it looks too busy or not before you depart.
While most designers focus on adding zippers to premier articles of clothing like skirts, jackets, and pants, they have diversified their portfolios by adding them to shoes and other handy accessories. A pair of leather boots can go well with a well-tailored ensemble, as will a handbag attached to your hip. There’s no limit to what you can do to look stylish and capitalize on the zipper’s unique look.
I doubt Elias Howe could have imagined how zippers would revolutionize the fashion industry, but we are a population dependent on having these fasteners make our lives easier. FixnZip also wants to make your life easier with our state-of-the-art replacement kit to handle any complication that arises from a faulty zipper. Browse our zipper sliderssizing guide and the color options to find the perfect one for you!