Spandex, also known as elastane, was synthesized for the first time in 1959 by a scientist (Joseph C. Shivers) working for Dupont. Spandex is a long-chain of synthetic polymeric fiber, interrupted by soft and rubbery segments of polyester or polyether polyols. The introduction of the spandex yarn revolutionized the fashion industry. Its uniqueness resides in its stretchability. It can stretch up to 600% and then, most importantly, recover to its original shape.

Spandex fibers (Dupont used a trade name Lycra for its fiber already named Spandex) enables a garment to fit the body perfectly marrying contours without creases or pleats. This is why applications such as athletic, aerobic, and exercise apparel, wetsuits, bathing suits, underwear, bras, ski pants ,leggings, socks and bicycle clothing were completely redefined in their design.

Spandex allows such a high stretchability that it is never used 100% in a fabric. Most swimwear contains approximately 20-27% Spandex and provides sufficient elasticity and recovery to serve its purpose. Spandex remains a yarn that does not carry much strength thus blending Spandex with other fabrics creates a more stable and durable garment. The higher the level of spandex content, the more expensive the garment.

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