Albini Group, best known as a dress shirt fabric supplier to companies including Kering, Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prada, has developed new ViroFormula fabrics, in collaboration with Swiss textile innovation firm HeiQ that can destroy COVID-19 a few minutes after contact.
The antiviral fabrics have the same look and feel of its other luxury materials, and it has already received orders from leading luxury firms, though it declined to name them. The technology, developed by Albini and HeiQ, works by targeting the fatty chromosomes that surround viruses when they touch the fabric, destroying them within a matter of minutes. The most significant drawback is impermanence. The HeiQ tests show the solution will be deactivated after 30 washes, though Tamburini hopes to develop a means of retreating clothing to restore the antiviral properties when necessary.
Antibacterial treatment of clothing was already relatively widespread before the Covid-19 outbreak, marketed as a way consumers could critically reduce the frequency of washing their clothes but the pandemic has hastened demand for its protective qualities. Albini is the first major luxury fashion player to enter this sphere, with Grado in India and Sonovia in Israel among the firms now also marketing similar treatments for clothing.