Difference between Lycra and Spandex

Difference between Lycra and Spandex has baffled many people in this post we are going to compare spandex and lycra to clear the confusion.

Specific garments or clothes come with inbuilt stretchability qualities. This excellence of the material is due to the existence of spandex.

The content of spandex present in the material is often interchangeably used with Lycra. Most people generalize or evaluate lycra as the synonym of spandex. However, there is a minor distinction between Lycra and Spandex.


The name of spandex is an anagram of the word that expands. It is the name given to a material that has stretchability properties and retains its shape when left free. This can stretch up to six times its normal length. The property to stretch makes it a very appropriate material to manufacture undergarments and lowers. This polymer was invented in 1959 and it revolutionized the manufacturing of undergarments.

Lycra : what makes Lycra different from Spandex?

Lycra is spandex fibre manufactured by the company Dupont. The extensive marketing campaign by Dupont made Lycra so popular that people interchangeably used the name to refer to the material or fabric which possesses stretchability properties ( Spandex).

Dupont company also known as E.I. du Pont de Nemours. The Company is an American corporation engaged in biotechnology. It used to manufacture chemicals and pharmaceuticals. DuPont now manufactures a broad array of industrial chemicals, petroleum-based fuels, synthetic fibres, etc.

Lycra manufactured by DuPont is an spandex fibre which is mixed with other fibres to increase the stretchability of garments.

Lycra vs Spandex: Key Details to remember

  1. It can be said that all Lycra is spandex, but not all spandex is lycra.
  2. Lycra is spandex which is manufactured by DuPont.
  3. Spandex was invented in 1959 and is known for elasticity properties.
  4. The way Levi’s is to Denim or Xerox is to photocopiers. Similarly, Lycra is to Spandex.
  5. Lycra is used as a trading name while spandex is the generic name.

Discovery of Spandex (Marketed as Lycra by DuPont)

  • The discovery of Spandex is one of the greatest inventions in the history of fitness.
  • Joseph Shivers, a PhD holder invented Spandex. He was a chemist at DuPont.
  • During his term at DuPont, Joseph Shivers curiosity and stubbornness to find an alternative for rubber encouraged him to discover the popular polymer, Spandex.
  • Initially, he thought of rubber. However, the properties of rubber such as low breathability made it near to impossible to make body-hugging garments.
  • Also, rubber was in surplus demand and short supply during world war || which urged him to find the other alternatives.
  • Five years later he discovered a fibre which had stretchability up to five times and regained its original shape.
  • Spandex was in the demand and proved versatile.
  • Joseph Shivers made it feasible and reasonable to wear pyjamas and yoga pants in public.

Author: Supriya Pandey

Supriya Pandey is currently a student of National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Patna. In her leisure time, she loves to write and works as a freelancer. She is Pursuing B.F.Tech and has a keen interest in fabric science, Sewn Products Machinery and Equipment, and apparel quality management. Connect with her to learn the insights, automation and the recent trends in apparel manufacturing. email - supriya1708pandey@gmail.com

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