As so often with everyday inventions, the zip has become so commonplace as to be almost ignored. Each time you fasten your jacket or trousers, you are utilising a complex piece of technology. Its origins lie in 19th century America, where it was initially suggested as a fastener for hook and eye boots, before finally being adapted for clothing.
By the 1930s the device had taken hold and acquired its distinctive onomatopoeic name. Dubbed the ‘Battle of the Fly’, debate remained about its effectiveness when compared to buttons. Esquire in 1937 sided with the zip as the best way of avoiding “the possibility of unintentional and embarrassing disarray.”
Post-war, zips truly took off fastening everything from hot pants to spacesuits. While the majority of production is now in Asia, the finest zips in the world are made in Switzerland. Riri, based near Lake Lugano, have been at the forefront of this industry for more than 80 years and maintained a level of quality that exceeds other zips.