Interestingly, Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article on the uses of paper as the basis for textiles, "A World-War-I-weary world needed a new wardrobe, and cheap, washable paper clothing seemed to rise to the occasion."
In January 1917, the New York Sun noted that the Germans had devised paper-based threads for making “sacks and bags, girdles, doilies, aprons, working garments,” as well as dresses and other clothing. “The inventors have discovered a way to give the ‘paper cloth’ great resistance to dampness,” the reported added, answering one obvious question on readers’ minds. Other articles noted that the Germans made parts of military uniforms out of paper, including those worn by their pilots and submarine crews.
|From "When Paper Clothing Was the Perfect Fit:|
A war-weary world needed a new wardrobe,
and this cheap, washable attire seemed to rise to the occasion"
Apparently an attempt was also made to introduce textiles from paper in the US and elsewhere after the war:
But it was the possibilities of paper clothing that captured attention in the U.S., especially after the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce imported a batch of Austrian paper suits, displayed them at its offices in Washington, D.C., and then sent them on tour to cities around the country. When the Washington exhibit opened in September 1920, the Associated Press noted that “one suit is quoted at fifteen cents, and is washable.” The exhibit also featured paper table covers, laundry bags, wall decorations and twine, among other items.With the end of rationing and increasing "prosperity," the use of paper for textiles came to a quick end, despite attempts in the 60s. Why wear ersatz when the real thing is available again...
Fast forward to 2018, and we have "paper on skin", the "Burnie Wearable Art Competition" in Tasmania, Australia. "The garments must be wearable and made from at least 80 per cent paper. The competition is a nod to Burnie’s connection to papermaking, past and present." Until 2010, Burnie was home to a paper mill that closed after failing to find a buyer...
- Collin, Ernst. "Die Buchbinderei im Weltkriege". Archiv für Buchgewerbe, Leipzig: A. Waldow - Verlag des deutschen Buchgewerbevereins, Vol 53, 1918. (275-279)
- Collin, Ernst. "Papier als Spinnstoff". Archiv für Buchgewerbe, Leipzig: A. Waldow - Verlag des deutschen Buchgewerbevereins, Vol 55, 1918. (17-19)
- Collin, Ernst. "Technische Kriegserfahrungen in der Buchbinderei". Archiv für Buchgewerbe, Leipzig: A. Waldow - Verlag des deutschen Buchgewerbevereins, Vol 55, 1918. (136)