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Textiles that Changed Fashion Forever: Nylon

These textiles revolutionized American fashion forever.


The quest to replace natural silk led to the very first fully synthetic fiber and revolutionized the products we depend on. 

The invention of Nylon in 1938 promised sleekness and practicality for women who sought an alternative to costly and delicate silk stockings. 

The impact of Nylon soon reached much further; it ushered in a textile revolution for consumers and the military.

Nylon in the War Effort

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DuPont's new underdog textile, Nylon, was used in World War II. After Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, and the United States entered World War II, the textile was initially used for toothbrush bristles and women's stockings. The U.S realized the strength and power of Nylon, quickly removed it from the public, and rationed it for the war. Nylon was permitted only in the manufacturing of ropes, parachutes, shoe laces, aircraft fuel tanks, hammocks, all aiding the U.S National Defense. 



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Nylon Today

Astronaut Ed White wears a spacesuit while floating in space connected to the spacecraft by a tetherImage result for nasa suit nylonImage result for nasa suit nylon

How did Nylon change fashion forever?

Nylon today is still being used for its strong properties. According to, shuttle spacesuit materials include ortho-fabric, aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, nylon/spandex, stainless steel, and high-strength composite materials.    

Fashionable and New

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Women were elated to have Nylon back in the market for its fashionable purposes. Initially described as leg make-up, Nylon stockings took over the fashion industry in late 1940s and 50s. It provided body comfort as hem-lines rose all while remaining affordable.