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What's wrong with acrylic?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
With all the praise for the softness of cashmere I'm surprised why acrylic isn't used that often. It's just as soft as cashmere, doesn't shrink, it's resistant to moths and it's inexpensive. So why do I rarely see the material used?

Is there something that I'm missing? I just thought I'd throw this question in the air since it has always confused me...
post #2 of 27
Acrylic is likely the most vile of man-made fibers. I would probably choose to wear polyester over acrylic if I had to pick (and death by firing squad was not among the choices). I don't know how you see it as soft like cashmere but you must be looking at some pretty crappy cashmere. Look at the pilling after only one wash of a sweater with even a minimal amount of acrylic. I won't even buy something for my kids that has any acrylic in it.
post #3 of 27
Acrilic creates static electricity, makes traspiration smell bad and is just plastic... I'd never put a plastic bag around my neck as a scarf...
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc
With all the praise for the softness of cashmere I'm surprised why acrylic isn't used that often. It's just as soft as cashmere, doesn't shrink, it's resistant to moths and it's inexpensive. So why do I rarely see the material used?

Is there something that I'm missing? I just thought I'd throw this question in the air since it has always confused me...
post #5 of 27
My parents once gave me a sweater with a label that said, "100% Virgin Acrylic." I remember it for that label and for being one of the ugliest and least comfortable garments I've ever possessed.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Okayyy, so maybe some people don't find acrylic comfortable. I never had a problem with it, but I only owned a few sweaters with some acrylic in it (thus my question.) Is there backlash because it's a sythnetic fabric?
post #7 of 27
so we can reduce our dependence on oil and hydrocarbons!
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc
Okayyy, so maybe some people don't find acrylic comfortable. I never had a problem with it, but I only owned a few sweaters with some acrylic in it (thus my question.) Is there backlash because it's a sythnetic fabric?

Most acrylics I've encountered were horribly difficult to maintain as new, since it pilled up like you were growing silkworm cocoons on it, and you would have to remove them after every cleaning. It just doesn't last as long as woolens.
post #9 of 27
Plus if you wash and or dry it wrong you can wind up with permanent creases.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc
Okayyy, so maybe some people don't find acrylic comfortable. I never had a problem with it, but I only owned a few sweaters with some acrylic in it (thus my question.) Is there backlash because it's a sythnetic fabric?

I think it's nearly axiomatic that synthetic materials are inferior in terms of such qualities as breathability and resilience, not to mention durability.
post #11 of 27
It is the thought of all those baby cryllics being killed that puts me off.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
The Wikipedia entry for acrylic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylic_fiber) does mention pilling and static as a problem with acrylic fiber, but it does have many pluses. I think a person with the notion that anything synthetic is automatically inferior and anything expensive and natural is precious, like cashmere, is little uninformed of the facts... (though I love cashmere, so I can't be too critical of it...)
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantucket Red
I think it's nearly axiomatic that synthetic materials are inferior in terms of such qualities as breathability and resilience, not to mention durability.
I would argue that just isn't true... Nylon, for instance, is incredibly durable, breathable, and resilient, much more than any natural fiber. The problem with using acrylic in sweaters isn't intrinsic to acrylic itself, but instead that the fiber is often used as a cost-saving method in already crappy knits, and a poorly blended knit is just a bad thing. I've worn Jil Sander sweaters that were a wool & acrylic blend (50/50, IIRC), quite comfortable. I wouldn't say synthetic fibers are globally a bad thing, it's all in how you use them.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by macuser3of5
I would argue that just isn't true... Nylon, for instance, is incredibly durable, breathable, and resilient, much more than any natural fiber.


Since when is nylon breathable? Here's a fun game. Put on a pair of 100% nylon socks, strap on some shoes, and walk around all day. Then go into a small, crowded room, take off your shoes and "breathable" socks, and watch the crowd flee, gagging, from the fragrant aroma emanating from your feet. Always a riot.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by NukeMeSlowly
Since when is nylon breathable? Here's a fun game. Put on a pair of 100% nylon socks, strap on some shoes, and walk around all day. Then go into a small, crowded room, take off your shoes and "breathable" socks, and watch the crowd flee, gagging, from the fragrant aroma emanating from your feet. Always a riot.
Hydrofil?
Quote:
Hydrofil® Nylon is made by AlliedSignal. It is a new nylon block co-polymer that has comfort characteristics like cotton. It has the ability to breath and to transport moisture away from the skin to the outside of the fabric, where it can evaporate. It can hold 15% of its weight in water and not feel damp*. It is used mainly in linings, shoes, activewear, outdoor equipment and even bullet proof vests.
http://www.fabriclink.com/pk/indexins.html#Hydrofil

I'm not suggestion nylon is appropriate for socks per se (no fiber is globally the best choice), but simply saying nylon is not breathable is demonstratably false. Really, synthetic doesn't automatically mean shitty, people...

*Roughly equivalent to cotton, FYI.
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