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Rayon

One might think that rayon is a natural fabric because it is made from cellulose, an organic compound found in plants; however, the cellulose needs a high amount of processing to form rayon so the resulting product is considered artificial. The process of creating rayon takes wood pulp and through various steps of shredding and chemical treatments, making the versatile fabric that is so popular in the fashion industry today.

The history of rayon dates back to the 1880s where it was produced in France as an affordable alternative to silk. This fiber is in fact the oldest manufactured fabric in history. While rayon was first in use centuries ago, it did not gain popularity until Dupont Chemicals received the rights to manufacture the material in the 1920s using a formula the quickly sped up the processing time.

The use of rayon has evolved over the years, starting out as a substitute for silk and developing into a fabric that is widely used in all clothing. The breathability of the fabric coupled with its light weight makes rayon the ideal candidate for undergarments. Additionally, rayon absorbs dye very well and lends itself to being creatively coloured for a range of outerwear such as shirts and dresses.

Modern examples of rayon used in bodycon and bandage dresses

Many designers embrace rayon as a fabric because it is easily dyed. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli created a women's rayon evening coat in deep magenta and in 1975, Diane Von Furstenberg coloured a rayon wrap dress in jewel-toned emerald green. When nylon and Lycra became popular synthetic clothing materials in the 1960s, rayon went into decline as the artificial fabric of choice.

Herve Leger in the most famous fashion house for bandage dresses, creating an array of beautifully designed dresses worn by an array of stars over the years and to the current day.