Textile Trend: Paper No. 9 Creates Paper Textiles

Paper No 9 clutch If someone proposed to you the concept of a dress or a bag made out of paper, what image would that conjure up? Perhaps a quirky Project Runway challenge, or a flimsy garment that comes apart at the slightest movement.

Interestingly enough, paper textiles might not be as far-fetched of a material as you think.

The fibers used in paper are the same as in fabric, pressed together to create a sheet in a way similar to felt, albeit resulting in a material with less tensile strength.

However, textile company Paper No. 9 has solved this problem; they have created a heavyweight paper that has enough strength for use as a fabric that can be sewn.

Paper Textile Original Collection
Paper No. 9 Original Collection

Paper No. 9’s original inspiration for this distinctive textile is kinkarakawakami, a 19th century Japanese wallpaper that was made to resemble gilded leather.

With this idea of “faux leather” in mind, the company developed a process to make paper more durable.

This process is vegan and non-toxic: recycled shipping cardboard is treated with natural oils and heat, and then distressed. The result is a “fabric” that is soft enough to wear, strong enough to sew with, and green enough to have a bright future in the industry.

Paper No. 9 carries it’s lines of both accessories and textiles. The fabrics come in a variety of textures and colors, including metallics and jewel tones.

Paper No. 9 Dirty Playground Collection
Paper No. 9 Dirty Playground Collection

And not only will the material not fall apart after a season, it is designed to age beautifully.

General wear-and-tear, including movement and body heat slowly matures the fabric in much the same way as the leather it mimics. In fact, the company designed a dress specifically with the aging of the garment in mind.

Paper No. 9 Metal and Stone Collection
Paper No. 9 Metal and Stone Collection

The “Ready-to-Wear-Away” Dress, made from a more delicate craft paper instead of cardboard, was created with a top layer that purposely disintegrates over time to slowly reveal hidden messages printed on the layer underneath.

Any interest in working with paper textiles?

Jessica Bucci

Jessica has been trained in a wide variety of textile and fiber processes, traditional as well as computer-aided, which she uses in both her design and sculptural work. Jessica has also served as a teaching assistant for beginning weavers and drawers.