“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -Juliet Capulet
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
The textile industry has long been addicted to re-branding the mundane in order to stand out. They make the medical industry look like amateurs when it comes to branding. Sometimes its a company name change to hide behind when business is going south. Mostly they love the re-naming of a generic product to seem more special. Last time I looked, there were over 30 names for Nylon 6, almost 30 names for Nylon 6,6, over 50 names for Olefin, more than 50 for Polyester. (By the way; Lycra is Spandex) [a quick guide to manufactured fibers] That’s just the fibers, it gets exponential when you add in fabric type and finish.
Steven Heller found a great book that is a fascinating look back at this trend in textiles and as a history of brand marketing. I can see a smoke filled scotch fueled room of Mad Men coming up with the next great textile brand:
“The significance of trade-marks in the textile industry is, perhaps, greater than in any other industry of equal magnitude,” wrote V. Alexander Scher (no relation to Paula or Jeff) of Richards & Geier, patent and trademark attorneys, New York City. He was writing in a now forgotten book titled Textile Brand Names Dictionary, which was published in 1947, designed “to be of daily service in identifying the names already in use, thereby facilitating the choice and registering of new names and marks,” asserted the editor at the Textile Book Publishers Inc. Included were more than 4,000 names of fibers, yarns, fabrics, and garments registered with the United States Patent Office between 1934 and 1947. 4,000!!! That’s a lot of 7th Avenue brainstorming to devise names like Devogue, Denicron, Glritone, Glossitwist, Ma-Tex, Perma-Fluff, Permacrisp, Perma glaze, Permaglo, Perma-Seal, Permaset, Perma-Shade and Permoflex, to name a few (today they could double as rock band or design firm names). [Steven Heller]