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PVC clothing, commonly known as vinyl clothing, is shiny clothing made of the plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The PVC plastic is also called vinyl. For this reason, this type of clothing is also called vinyl clothing. PVC is sometimes confused with the similarly shiny patent leather.
The terms "PVC", "vinyl" and "PU" tend to be used interchangeably by retailers for clothing made from shiny plastic-coated fabrics. These fabrics usually consist of a backing woven from polyester fibers with a surface coating of shiny plastic. The plastic layer itself is typically a blend of PVC and polyurethane (PU), with 100% PVC producing a stiff fabric with a glossy shine and 100% PU producing a stretchy fabric with a silky shine. A manufacturer's label may say, for example, 67% polyester, 33% polyurethane for a fabric that contains no PVC; or 80% polyvinyl chloride, 20% polyurethane with mention of the polyester backing omitted. To add to the confusion, the plastic layer is often textured to look like leather ("leatherlook", "pleather"), as opposed to smooth ("wetlook", "patent").
The PVC can also be produced in bright colours (black, red, white, blue, orange, pink, silver, striped, etc.), adding further visual stimulus to the physical sensations produced by the material. The more frequently found colors are black and red. The PVC clothes are very associated with retro-futuristic look, Goth, Punk, alternative fashions and clothing fetish. A common stereotype is the image of a dominatrix wearing a skin-tight PVC catsuit, usually jet-black. In some cities it is more common to see people wearing PVC clothes, especially in large cities such as Berlin, London, New York City, Montreal, San Francisco, etc.
The plastics were used in clothing since its invention, particularly in raincoats. But PVC clothing became more noted in the 1960s and early 1970s fashion trend. The fashion designers of that era saw the PVC plastic as the ideal material to design futuristic clothes. During that era, boots, raincoats, dresses and other PVC garments were made in many colors and even transparent and worn in public areas to some degrees. At that time it was also common to see PVC clothes on films and TV series such as The Avengers, for example. And since then these shiny plastic clothes became a fetish object.
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