Luxury shapewear brand, Cass and Co., has developed a copper-infused lingerie collection that claims to not only improve the body's silhouette but also visibly reduces the signs of aging. In our interview with Cass's president and designer, Susan Ledyard, she discusses how her entrepreneurial tendencies sprang from an inherent need to add function to fashion: "I grew up in a house full of only fashion, and as a young rebel, I thought it needed one tiny little thing more. This is the functionality part to our clothing. I always have to have function with my fashion."
|INVISIBELLAS V-neck top.
Seven years ago, Ledyard collaborated with a private American company called Cupron, which, at the time, specialised in antimicrobial bedding to improve health issues. After experiencing the wound-healing benefits of Cupron's technology for herself, Ledyard recognised a potential market.
Using Cupron's trademark fabric, Cass's shapewear line, Wear Repair, promises age-defying results. The fabric is said to be made with 66 per cent raw copper, a mineral used for health and antimicrobial purposes for centuries and now found in a range of anti-aging skincare products. According to a PRWeb review of the product, the copper "draws oxygen to the surface of the skin" and helps it to look healthy. Ledyard claims the nature of the fabric means that copper oxide continuously rises to the surface: "This is miraculous to me, the copper oxide lives within the yarn so as the fibre wears down the copper keeps coming to the surface," says Ledyard.
Naturally, the promise of a fountain of youth has generated a great deal of interest among consumers. But does it deliver? Since launching the line in 2006, the product has faced scrutiny. According to Cass, double blind, peer-reviewed studies have shown an 85 per cent decrease in regular Wear Repair user's visible lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation and age spots, as well as an overall improvement in skin's tone and texture.
However, both Dr Vincent A. DeLeo, chairman of the dermatology department at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center, and Dr Bruce E. Katz, clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology, criticised the product in the New York Times earlier this year. "It's one of the most ridiculous claims I've ever heard," said Dr DeLeo, suggesting that for a skincare product to work, it has to be absorbed into the skin and any product in the fabric would have no effect after being washed. Dr Katz also claimed the products were "pure marketing" and "have no effect on the skin or cellulite."
But others have supported the product's claims. WCBS medical expert Dr Holly Phillips noted that "copper helps our skin to rejuvenate," and until the copper fibre itself has completely eroded within the clothing, the benefits will remain. In the "human lab" test conducted on The Rachael Ray Show in early 2008, three audience members were selected to test the Wear Repair line, wearing the clothing every day for a month. All three women were impressed by the results they saw, with one tester stating: "I've really noticed some serious changes [...] the sunspots faded - they're gone."
The anti-aging benefit is not the only factor that drew Ledyard to Cupron technology. She claims that the copper in the yarn makes the lingerie convenient to wear under suits and formalwear as it means that the clothing won't have to be dry-cleaned as often, increasing the longevity of garments. According to the designer, the clothing is ideal for working out as there is also a notable increase in energy levels, another benefit from the copper woven into the fabric.
Cass has more exciting ideas in the pipeline. With its new Chroma Colour line, which has a colour changing effect and works to contour and define the body, as well as a potential hosiery line with the promise of something "different to your average," we can expect new developments from the company in the near future.
As of now, it's difficult to prove the beneficial effects of the Wear Repair line outside of the shapewear category, and further clinical testing will be needed to disprove the critics in the medical industry. However, it is a fascinating concept. Cupron has rumoured that larger undisclosed companies are now looking into the technology, and labels such as Wrangler have introduced concept-clothing, such as the anti-cellulite Denim Spa jean line. Cass' anti-aging products are a sign of things to come as the fashion world continues to merge with new technologies.
Sign up to receive a weekly dispatch from
The Genteel unearths the forces shaping global fashion and design through the lens of business, culture, society and best kept secrets.
A worldwide collective of contributors currently form The Genteel. On a daily basis our team dispatches thought-provoking and insightful articles from the streets of Oslo, Toronto, Beirut, Moscow, United Arab Emirates, Seoul and beyond.