Synthetic fabrics were nothing new in 1969, but they had been improved to the point that they seemed like a new idea. Rayon and acetate had been available to consumers on a large scale since the 1920s but there were lots of problems with the fabrics. They often were prone to shrinking, and there are even stories of women who got caught in the rain in a new rayon frock who then had to give the dress to a much smaller sister. The dyes used, especially blue, could be unstable, with blue often turning to a pink or dark red. They wrinkled as badly as natural fibers, and they were bad to retain odors.
The 1950s brought Dacron polyester which was usually blended into cotton. Polyester had the advantage of being wrinkle-resistant, color fast and it did not shrink. By the 1960s 100% polyester was being knit into what seemed to be a miracle fabric. It looked to be well on its way to replacing both cotton and wool knits.
The 1950s and 1960s must have been great days for those in chemical research. People really did buy the famous line from DuPont, “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry.”
So with all these advantages to Tritessa, why would anyone want to buy silk?
Because as the International Silk Association tells us ten pages later in the same magazine, “Only Silk Is Silk.”
Researchers continue to improve synthetic fabrics. The polyesters of today are far superior to the hot and heavy double knits of the 1960s and 70s. Rayon is colorfast, wrinkle-resistant, and it no longer shrinks in the rain. Still, it has to be repeated, only silk is silk.