Zip It Up! How a Revolution in Design and Construction Got Its Teeth

February 7, 2019 by Britex Fabrics 0 comments


Zippers! They’re the onomatopoetically satisfying sewing tool that has become so common in modern fashion that we take them for granted: but their rocky start over a hundred years ago nearly derailed the invention.

The zipper made its first appearance at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with a rudimentary design: and it met with little success.  Corsets were still in vogue, but the fashion audience did not find a device that helped people disrobe faster to be of much interest.  Instead, the zipper managed to find its niche in the construction of money pouches for sailors during the First World War, and in oversized (overshoe) rubber boots. In the fashion world, Elsa Schiaparelli finally embraced zippers in the 1930s as a design element in her couture collections, and Levi’s introduced the zipper fly in 1947 in order to appeal to female customers who thought the button fly was unappealing.  There is still a great debate between “denimheads” about the purity of denim with a zipper instead of a button fly.  As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “that is one place on my wardrobe I do not need sharp interlocking metal teeth.” Today, zippers are used not just as simple closures but as decorative elements that add interest to any piece of clothing.

At Britex, we have a wide selection of zippers that can be used either as closures or design elements.  We carry two main types– separating, and closed bottom--and each has its own purpose and use. Separating zippers are typically used on jackets; we have heavy and light weight, nylon coil, plastic teeth, metal teeth, a limited selection of separating closed bottom zippers, and dual separating zippers. In the closed bottom variety, which is typically used for dresses, flys, and skirts, we have visible and invisible, nylon coil, and metal teeth zippers. We also have a small selection of specialty zippers that feature unique teeth, tapes, pulls, or even rhinestones to add sparkle to your outfit. And lastly, we have zippers by the yard, which are perfect for creating cushion covers or for extra-large projects.

So zip it in style! Don’t miss a trick when it comes to designing and creating something that you’ll love forever.