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PVC clothing is shiny clothing made from the plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC plastic is often called "vinyl" and this type of clothing is commonly known as "vinyl clothing". PVC is sometimes confused with the similarly shiny patent leather.
The terms "PVC", "vinyl" and "PU" tend to be used interchangeably by retailers for clothing made from shiny plastic-coated fabrics. These fabrics usually consist of a backing woven from polyester fibers with a surface coating of shiny plastic. The plastic layer itself is typically a blend of PVC and polyurethane (PU), with 100% PVC producing a stiff fabric with a glossy shine and 100% PU producing a stretchy fabric with a silky shine. A manufacturer's label may say, for example, 67% polyester, 33% polyurethane for a fabric that contains no PVC; or 80% polyvinyl chloride, 20% polyurethane with mention of the polyester backing omitted.
PVC can be produced in bright colours (black, red, white, blue, orange, pink, silver, striped, etc.), adding visual appeal to the physical sensations produced by wearing the material. The colours most frequently used are black and red. PVC clothes are often associated with a retro-futuristic look, Goth and Punk subcultures, alternative fashions and clothing fetishes. A popular stereotype is the image of a dominatrix wearing a skin-tight PVC catsuit, usually jet-black. People wearing PVC clothing are more often seen in large cities such as Berlin, London, New York City, Montreal and San Francisco.
Plastics have been used in clothing since their invention, particularly in raincoats. The use of PVC in clothing became established during the fashion trends of the 1960s and early 1970s. The fashion designers of the time regarded PVC as the ideal material with which to design futuristic clothes. Boots, raincoats, dresses and other PVC garments were made in diverse colors as well as transparent, and to some degree they were worn in public. PVC clothes were often seen in films and TV series such as The Avengers. Shiny plastic clothing has since become the object of PVC fetishism.
In the mid-1990s, clothes made of PVC became a part of young people's fashions, particularly in jackets, skirts and trousers, and they also appeared in the media. During the mid-1990s it was not uncommon to see presenters, models, actresses, actors, singers and other celebrities wearing PVC clothes on TV and in magazines. As the fashion cycle continues, PVC clothing has again appeared in mainstream street fashion and it continues to be a central part of the fetish scene.
Fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges have used PVC in their collections. Since 2010, PVC has been used for both female and male fashion.
PVC clothing in the mediaEdit
- In a scene from the film Two for the Road (1967) the British actress Audrey Hepburn appears wearing a shiny black PVC trouser suit designed by Paco Rabanne.
- In some scenes from the TV film Along Came a Spider (1970), the American actress Suzanne Pleshette appears wearing a red PVC coat.
- The song "Golf Girl" by British band Caravan from their 1971 album In the Land of Grey and Pink describes the eponymous golf girl as being "dressed in PVC".
- In an episode of the 1990s American television sitcom The Nanny, Fran Drescher wears a red PVC outfit.
- In the music video for the song Scream (1995), Michael Jackson and his sister Janet Jackson wear black PVC pants.
- Also in 1995, the Canadian singer Shania Twain wears black PVC pants in the music video for the song You Win My Love.
- In the 244th edition (November 1995) of the Brazilian version of Playboy magazine, there are two photographs in which the model Maira Rocha wears Lucy in the Sky black PVC pants.
- In 1996, the American pornographic actress Jill Kelly appears wearing black PVC top and pants in one of her movies.
- In the 1996 live action version of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) wears red PVC thigh high boots, ultimately getting slimed in molasses and covered in mud.
- In 1997, the English actress and model Elizabeth Hurley appears wearing black PVC pants in the thriller Dangerous Ground.
- Also in 1997, in the music video for the Shania Twain song Man! I Feel Like a Woman!, the musicians appear wearing black PVC pants.
- Also in 1997, the Mexican singer Thalía sang and gave interviews wearing black PVC pants in the Brazilian TV show Domingo Legal, on the SBT television network.
- In the 2000 live action film 102 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) wears black crotch PVC boots, which get caked.
- The English television presenter Davina McCall has worn PVC clothes in some of her appearances on TV.
- The English television and radio personality Zoë Ball wore black PVC pants in one of her appearances on the English TV program Shooting Stars.
- In certain episodes of the American television series Smallville the actress Erica Durance appears wearing PVC clothes.
- The 1990s pop group, the Spice Girls, frequently used PVC outfits in their appearances.
- In 2007, the Brazilian singer Ivete Sangalo wore a black PVC outfit in her show Multishow ao Vivo: Ivete no Maracanã.
- In 2010, the Russian musical group Chernobyl feat. Bazooka Boom released a music video for the song Hooli Gun Yo. In this music video the female singer appears wearing a red PVC dress.
- Also in 2010, the English newsreader and television presenter Mary Nightingale wore a black PVC catsuit in the charity show Newsroom's Got Talent.[deprecated source]
- In recent years, PVC clothing has appeared in the media, in movies such as The Matrix,[deprecated source] and by singers such as Britney Spears, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Lopez and Mýa.
- In the 2017 video game Splatoon 2, one of the idols named Marina wears a PVC half jacket.
Caring for PVC clothingEdit
PVC clothing requires care to make it last longer and maintain its appearance.
As PVC clothes are made from a fabric layer covered with a plastic layer, they should not be over-stretched to avoid damage to the plastic layer. Excessive stretching can cause the plastic layer to lose its smooth texture and stay striated, lose some of its original shine, and possibly tear.
If PVC clothing is not soiled, the inside can be freshened up with a fabric refresher product and the plastic outside can be wiped with a damp sponge. If necessary, PVC clothes can be hand washed with warm water and a small amount of liquid detergent. Washing powder should not be used because the flakes can remain on the clothing after washing, and can also stick to the plastic layer.
The detergent can be removed using cold water and after turning the garment inside out it can be left in the shade to dry. After drying the inside (fabric layer), a garment can be turned to dry the outside (plastic layer).
PVC clothing is damaged by ironing. It is made of heat-sensitive plastics and which may melt under the iron, and high temperatures from any source, such as flames, clothes dryers, and cigarettes can damage it. The fumes from burning or smoking PVC plastic can also damage it.
Different coloured PVC garments, especially white, may be subject to staining if they are not stored separately from each other. PVC clothing is usually stored hanging in a garment bag away from other clothing.
The polyester fabric used for backing PVC clothing is more resistant to wear and tear than rubber, and PVC clothing does not require the use of any shining products. However, it is possible to polish PVC clothing using liquid silicone spray sold by car accessory shops.
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