The phrase ‘out of thin air’ connotes something invisible and immaterial, something that’s sensed but not seen. We can discuss all of the characteristics of wind – its speed, temperature and moisture content, for example – but it’s hard to see it in visual form, other than the effect it has on physical objects. London-based artist Lauren Bowker changes that with THE UNSEEN, a wind-reactive ink.
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Incorporated into complex garments, the ink changes color according to fluctuations in the air around the wearer’s body. Nano compounds in the inks and dyes can sense up to seven different stimuli, including heat, UV, pollution, moisture, chemicals, friction, and sound. That means the clothing can actually tell the wearer whether the air around her is clean.
Air pollution changes sections of the garment from black to yellow, while other factors bring out a gorgeous melange of blues and greens. Produced as part of a couture capsule collection for Swarovski, the garment has a bio-inspired look reminiscent of iridescent feathers or fish scales. This isn’t the first project to integrate warnings about air quality into fashion.
Check out 14 strange and amazing textile innovations, including fabric made from fermented wine and thread made from hagfish slime.