Down With Buttons

Alexandros Tsathas believes in the press stud.

Alexandros Tsathas believes in the press stud.

The button is by and large the fastener of choice for the clothiers of now. From the runways of Paris to the freeway underpasses of La Paz, buttons reign supreme. I’m here to tell you: the supremacy of the button is undeserved. We must commit regicide, and replace the button with the press-stud.

Press-studs are the small, metal fasteners engaged by pressing their two, reciprocally-shaped halves together. They make getting dressed fun. They make getting undressed even more fun.

Firstly, it’s the motion of the ocean: “pushing-together” rather than “feeding-though”. Humans are kinaesthetic creatures. We prefer clasping, clutching and squeezing over careful lumen-guiding. That’s just us. Press-studs satisfy our tactile instincts in a way that buttons never will.

Then there’s the “click”. But it’s so much more than that – it’s affirmation, it’s reassurance. With the “click”, we can be sure that we have fastened right and fastened true. Kind of like an audible dead man’s switch. Potentially embarrassing situations can be navigated safely. Buttons are silent. Killers. Of self-esteem.

How many times have you spied a friend’s buttoned shirt and spontaneously started unbuttoning it? Never. Because unbuttoning another’s shirt is socially unacceptable and downright creepy. Press-studs shift the social goal-posts. Spontaneous press-stud unfastening (caveat: first or last press-stud only, followed by immediate refastening) is not only acceptable, but is a social lubricant. We’ve all been there. An acquaintance. Some press-studs. A few drinks. “Gullivan, I love your shirt!” – unfasten, refasten. Conversation away. Fun.

After a lengthy conversation built on sturdy press-stud foundations, you reach the end of your big night. It’s hard enough stumbling through the front door, let alone dealing with the whole buttons-and-eyelets-shebang. Press-studs present an infinitely more practical alternative: just tear that shit off! Anyone claiming they don’t revel in that brief realisation of their repressed stripper dreams is a liar.

Then there’s longevity. Buttons pop off. Those fat-cat outfitters will attach an extra button (two if you’re lucky), giving you a false sense of security upon purchasing their garment. “I’ll just sew on the spare button if one pops off, right?”. Get real. You don’t even know how to sew.

The inherent design of press-studs makes them immune to loss. They are integrated into the fabric, forming an inseparable tandem with the article of clothing in question. They sit flush with the cloth’s surface and remain unexposed to the sheer forces that would otherwise cause buttons to pop off. Purely from a materials viewpoint, metals (of which press-studs are made) have higher mechanical strength, melting points, and better heat and UV resistance than cotton thread (from which the button-cloth link is constructed).

It is clear that press-studs are the better choice. Australian Fashion Week 2015 is next month – the perfect opportunity, one would hope, for some “favourable press”.