The Unseen's Air fashion accessories change colour in different climates

The Unseen's Air fashion accessories change colour in different climates

Experimental fashion studio The Unseen has produced a range of accessories that alter in response to environmental changes using inks developed from its colour-shifting wearable sculptures.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

Leather bags, wallets, phone cases and jewellery are among items in the Air collection created for London's Selfridges department store. Each is embedded with a specially developed ink, causing the material to change colour in response to different environmental conditions.

"The accessory collection derived naturally from our wearable Air sculptures that we made last year," The Unseen founder Lauren Bowker told Dezeen.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

"The accessories react to different environments just as our sculptures do. Each accessory has its own formula and so each piece was designed to give a different experience."

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

Bowker has previously embedded her specially developed ink into feathered, leather and gemstone-encrusted headdresses. The Unseen also presented a sculptural jacket that changes colour depending on the wearer's mood during London Fashion Week in February 2015.

Items in the new collection are designed to be more suitable for everyday use and wear. A giant black scarf is patterned with devoré – a technique also known as burnout, which uses chemicals to create semi-transparent sections on fabrics like velvet.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

The devoré sections were hand-painted with five different reactive inks. Each responds differently when it comes into contact with the body.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

"The colours that flourish around the head and neck are different to those that encase the rest of the body," said Bowker.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

The wallet, phone case, coin purse and card holders are sensitive to touch. Reacting to circulation patterns, the colours change through black, red, green and blue at varying speeds depending on temperature of the user.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

A backpack embedded with 13 different inks transforms using factors including wind, sunlight and temperature levels.

The alligator shoulder bag changes colour seasonally, as its ink has a formula that tracks UV light level, humidity and heat.

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

"Our accessory collection allows people to interact and view the wonders of our formulas for themselves," Bowker said. "We want our pieces to be heirlooms, to be passed down through the generations reacting to the different environments that the future holds."

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

The limited-edition products are on sale at Selfridges on Oxford Street, which is also hosting a dedicated window display and installation.

"Working commercially provided varying challenges in order to get the formulas to market," said Bowker. "This provided us with invaluable knowledge to be able to transfer our formulas to other scenarios."

Accessories by fashion studio The Unseen at Selfridges, London

The Unseen is also currently working on commissions for the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Earlier this week, teams from MIT and the RCA unveiled a "bio-skin" fabric that peels back in reaction to sweat and humidity.