The World of Steam Pressing
Have you ever wondered why some of the best designers like Ermenegildo Zegna and Salvatore Ferragamo are Italians? Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance, was the capital of fashion innovation for several centuries. This innovation was influenced by the art of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael. With this rich heritage in fashion, Italy had been a home for the entire ecosystem of fine garment production including textile production, high-quality tailoring, and ancillary industries for finishing the ready-to-wear garments. The woollen fabrics by Zegna, shoes by Ferragamo, and accessories by Gucci amongst other brands became the symbol of Italian fashion coming from the second world war. Steam presses have been a critical part of finishing the garments and giving them the “Italian Look”.
The consistent rivalry in Italy between Florence and Rome to be the fashion capital, resulted in growth of Milan, an industrial city, as the modern Italian fashion base in the 60’s and 70’s. Milan became the home for ready-to-wear global brands like Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace. The best garment finishing and pressing equipment manufacturers like Pony, Trevil and Macpi are all around Milan.
Pressing technologies have had a long history for thousands of years. Metal Iron pans with boiling water were used in China from the 1st century to remove wrinkles in garments. The Romans developed a flat metal mallet that was used to hit clothes. The creases were removed by the pounding. Around the fifteenth century, the hot box was made of a hollow metal box with coal inside to give it the heat and a grip to hold the box. Other forms of heating like gas, oil and other fuels have also been used in the 1800s. Henry Seeley developed the electric Iron in 1882.
In a Hot Iron, the temperature reaches between 120-180 deg C and the iron stretches the fabric with the heat to remove the wrinkles and give it the crease, while in a steam press, the high heat of steam removes the wrinkles. Steam pressing is far gentler than hot iron on your precious fabric giving it a longer life. The best-in-class laundries and dry cleaners today use steam press for pressing and finishing your garments - steam helps remove the wrinkles and restores the garment to its natural finish.
Always use steam ironing for your garments to give them a better and a longer life. Avoid using hot plates as not only they can damage your garments, they may also leave a permanent heavy press mark on the garment which can never go away.