Why Talk About Zippers?
There are countless inventions that have made significant impact on society. These inventions are often humble in appearance, but they revolutionized how people do things. For instance, the zipper is something everyone is familiar with. This humble fastener improved the way that the edges of two pieces of fabric can be fastened together. Although the purpose does not sound very glamorous, zippers improved the design of numerous products.
The biggest impact was made on apparel. Before the zipper was invented, clothing was fastened by buttons or string. If your jacket had a lot of buttons, it could take a while before the whole jacket is buttoned up. Also, there would always be gaps between the buttons. If you accidentally forgot to button one of the buttons on your pants, or if a button fell off, it could cause quite an embarrassment.
This all changed when the zipper came along. The Zipper Stop enabled continuous closure of the seam where the fabrics joined. There were no gaps to worry about, no button to forget. In addition, zipping up a garment was much faster than fastening a lot of buttons. This saved a lot of time and effort.
When zippers were put on children’s apparel, this significantly improved the children’s development in independence. Fastening a button is a challenging skill for a young child to learn, but zipping up a zipper is much easier to accomplish. Young children could learn to dress themselves with minimal assistance.
Zippers revolutionized the design of travel luggage. Traditional luggage had a hard shell and metal closures, and they were very heavy. Travelers wanted luggage that was lighter and more flexible. When designers came up with soft-shell luggage, they used the zipper as the closure. The zipper has two sliding components so that you can zip and unzip the bag in both directions. This added the ability for the two sliding components to be locked together for security. Soft-shell luggage with zipper is now more popular than hard-shell luggage.
A zipper with a double slider can also be found in some designs of outerwear. This offers the wearer more ways to adjust the zipper to his comfort.
A piece of garment might have zippers in other places. A pocket can have zip closure for added security of the contents. Some women’s pants that are fitted around the ankles may have a zipper on each pant leg for that perfect fit. A zipper around the collar of an all-weather jacket can conceal a hood.
The zipper is one of those things that people hardly think about on a daily basis because it is so much a part of our lives. Imagine if the zipper was never invented. A lot of clothes that people like to wear, like a front-zipped hoodie sweatshirt, will simply not exist. There would not be any light-weight, soft-shelled luggage. Every garment would need to be fastened by buttons, snaps, or string. That is something to think about next time you zip up a jacket.