Fabric That Reacts to the Air to Change Color

Published 08/15 2014 09:39PM

Updated 08/15 2014 09:42PM

image courtesy: THE UNSEEN
Item: Debuting during London Fashion Week as a capsule collection dubbed “Air” for Swarovski, material studio The Unseen created fabric dyed with a form of ink that reacts to fluctuations in the air by changing color.  Air’s combination of dyes, inks and nano-compounds create the illusion of a living fabric that reacts to not only a slight cross breeze, but a variety of environmental variations including UV exposure, heat, pollution, moisture, chemicals, friction and sound. Each variation has its own response—if you walk into a polluted area, for example, your clothing would shift from yellow to black—giving you visual cues that the area is contaminated with something.

Why it Matters: We’re always looking for ways to broaden sensory horizons, especially if it serves a purpose. Combining art and safety has long been a pipedream for many innovators and fringe thinkers, but technology is enabling us to get closer to a middle ground every day. Safety is usually thought of as bulky, over prepared and non-organic, leading some to ditch safety for the sake of design. But as design becomes both intelligent and beautiful, we’re finding a potential new middle ground that satisfies a need and also fulfills a vanity requirement. This type of living art can functionally tell how safe, clean or stable the environment around us is—without being threatening in the process.

image courtesy: THE UNSEEN

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