Back in the early 1900's you did not have the luxury of a washing machine and were forced to wash everything by hand. You had to sit down with your washing board and soap in hand and scrub away all the stains from the week. This also meant that people had less clothing and did not buy so impulsively. Flash forward to present day, people are turning spare bedrooms into closet space because of all the clothing that we own. If it weren't for the washing machine to clean all of this clothing we would be out of luck. But has the washing machine become more of a necessity then it needs to be? Are we relying on it too much?
Some people only buy clothing that is washing machine friendly and do not want to spend the time properly cleaning their apparel. It has become more of a hurtle for companies and product developers, because in some markets the clothing must all be able to be thrown in the wash. I find it very interesting that some companies have even gone the extra step to make sure the product will hold up after 100 washes. Even back in the 1900's people weren't washing their clothing that much and they wore the same shirt for numerous days at a time.
I think the most interesting fabric alternative that I have ever seen is from Dennis Basso, he was able to find a suede leather that is able to be washed in the washing machine. This is something that blew my mind, when I think of leather or suede I think "Leather Clean Only!" Never in my wildest dreams would I even attempt to put a leather jacket into the wash in fear that it would shrink down and warp out of shape. Basso was able to find a way around this and found a form of cow skin that is tough enough to withstand the washer and dryer and hold up to the elements.
Just think only 100 years back people were washing their clothing in a well and now we are throwing our leather coats into a machine and letting it do all the work. Its amazing what product development teams can do over time!