From paper pants to hi-tech vests

When I left home my mum gave me a pack of paper underpants on the basis I had yet to prove my smalls-washing ability.

Thanks to places like Primark, mums and sons these days can almost treat real clothes as throwaway items. Something like 25 million pairs of knickers and underpants are sold every year in London.

But one day buying undercrackers might not be such a frivolous activity and 100,000 people will head down to Westfield to gawp at the latest in hi-tech clothing as well as the latest in throwaway fashion trends.

At the London Design Festival, which opens this weekend, they have jeans which clean pollutants from around the wearer and recent years have seen scientists develop clothes that can monitor your health and even read your emotional state. One team at the Rugby World Cup trains in gear that lets coaches spy on players being lazy in training.

As for those paper pants: all I will say is that I give thanks no-one had to monitor them.