• An investigation into the use and development of essential oils and natural fibres for health and wellbeing

      Da Costa Lopes, Ana (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05)
      This research considers how essential oils might be impregnated in a variety of materials towards the development of clothing and substrates that may promote wellbeing. Towards this end, it was necessary to gain an understanding of the importance of essential oils in health and wellbeing, to ascertain how much impact it may have when embedded within fabrics used for fashion. Therefore it was necessary to understand a variety of components and properties of essential oils in historical and contemporary use, to understand how these might impact aspects of people‘s health in today's lifestyle. For instance, could essential oils within a given material enhance mood and physical health and wellbeing? It should be noted that within today's society, there is evidence of negativity on the use of natural herbal remedies used medicinally. This research does not wish to ascertain that essential oils are a cure-all, rather than essential oils may be viewed as palliative and used as supportive remedies when captured within a material or piece of clothing. However, this research does give value to the effectiveness of traditional applications, and ancient remedies in studies and testimonies of its efficacy, the psychological effects of smell and how different aromas have importance in people's life. This research seeks to find a solution and problem-solve methods and techniques to create a potential for developing, palliative clothing with embedded essential oils to improve and enhance life quality. The methods used for fabric and essential oil experiments progressed using the creative processes of design in a particular fashion, where experiments include playful prototyping, of clothes and accessories as wellness tools to promote health and wellbeing. Exploring a wide range of fabrics and materials from 'manmade' to sustainable and natural fibres, there were some innovative findings. Final experiments revealed composites of latex with natural materials; one main ingredient being eggshells; these were seen to have a pronounced potential to be the perfect carrier for essential oils, maintaining odour and longevity. Through the tests, this new material has shown various properties that include flexibility, porosity, breathability, resistant and consistent extension of odour.