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Future Fabrics | The Science Behind the Beauty & Care of Clothes

Is it possible to get excited about detergents and fabric softeners? Yes. It definitely is.
P&G Future Fabrics

If you catch me during the week running around with my kids, wearing my mommy uniform of jeans and a simple t-shirt, you might never know about my love for fashion. Getting dressed, shopping, vintage, over-accessorizing - I am passionate about all of it.

Over the years I've grown my closet into a collection of trendy pieces as well as clothes, bags and shoes that are timeless. As a mom to a toddler and an infant I don't always get to wear a lot of it on a regular basis because it's not practical for every day. The clothing that is most comfortable and washable is usually what is in the line-up for every day wear. My weekly rotation of T-shirts and jeans is so basic and, let's face it, boring, that whenever I put something on in a different color (ie. not black, white or navy), my three-year-old always points it out! And, I'm constantly replacing these staples because the repeated washing (even on delicate and by hand) ruins the fabric (no matter what brand, it seems). I find myself wishing for two things when it comes to my everyday mom wardrobe: first, that I would find clothes that don't get destroyed after a handful of runs through the washing machine and second, clothes that aren't so basic that they bore even my toddler.

I am one of those rare people who actually enjoys doing the laundry (although folding it is a different story!) so I was looking forward to a Proctor & Gamble Future Fabric event that took place last week in New York. Earlier this fall Proctor and Gamble's Fabric Care category, which includes Tide, Downy, Gain and Bounce, announced that it entered into a series of strategic global and national partnerships with British designer Giles Deacon, Premiere Vision and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The partnership is aimed at exploring the future of fabrics and the science behind the beauty and care of clothes.

The Future Fabrics event showcased these partnerships, presented the science behind truly clean, rejuvenated and protected clothes, and introduced a new line of detergents.

"Fabric care is a fundamental part of fashion and detergent is the enabler of amazing fashion and for caring for clothes," said Alex Keith, Vice President of Fabric Care in North America for Proctor and Gamble, and this was the theme of the beautiful, modern event hosted by the company last week.

Who ever thought that talking about and doing your laundry could be glamorous?

Giles Deacon presented a few pieces from a new collection that he designed and showed in Milan made completely of washable fabrics; CFDA Designer Tracy Reese was on-hand to introduce machine-washable fashion with her next collection to be shown at New York Fashion Week in February; and several demonstrations were presented using the new line of Tide detergents and Downy fabric softeners.

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Seeing is indeed believing. The new Tide detergents not only get clothes cleaner and whiter but restore clothes that have previously been damaged or stained. The new Downy fabric softeners are more like gentle cleansers and protection boosters for your clothes the way that conditioner supports the shampoo you use to wash your hair.

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Feeling is believing. The clothes that had been washed in these products was noticeably cleaner and softer than those washed with the brand's competitors.

I have about 15 white t-shirts that I wear regularly. Once they develop pills or have a stain they go right to the trash or repurposed as rags for cleaning. I can't stand clothes, even if they're for hanging around the house or running a quick errand, that aren't clean and looking fresh. I wouldn't dare wear my nicer tops when I'm home with my kids because those are reserved for going out, wearing with my dressier clothes or even just with my top shelf denim. The thought of washing these shirts or any clothes that I really love, gives me such anxiety. The internal conversation goes something like this "What will happen to them? Will they get ruined? I should have bought two!" According to Margarita Bahrikeeton, a scientist and Global Fabric Care Research and Development Leader for P&G, this new line of detergents and fabric softeners will quell those fears by "turning that first wash anxiety into first wash longevity" with a three-step process: Cleaning, Protecting and Enhancing the fibers of our clothing.

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Is it possible to get excited about detergents and fabric softeners? Yes. It definitely is.

Monica Shulman is a photographer and author of Ciao, Chessa! – a photography and lifestyle blog. She lives in New York City with her husband, toddler daughter, and infant son.

{I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}