Colour-changing T-shirt alerts wearers to the effects of climate change

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Colour-changing T-shirt alerts wearers to the effects of climate change

Design studios The Unseen and The Lost Explorer have come together to create a T-shirt that changes colour when it comes into contact with polluted water.

Climate Change t-shirt

The Unseen Explorer T-shirt, named after both the studios, was launched on World Environment Day on 5 June – less than a week after US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

Designed to represent the effect that climate change has on ocean acidification, the T-shirt is coated in a natural cabbage dye that reacts to pollution in water – and changes colour depending on the pH levels. The designers hope it will help to spread awareness about climate change.

Climate Change t-shirt

"The political industry is in such turmoil at the moment, it feels like it's down to normal people to flip the narrative," said The Unseen founder Lauren Bowker.

"[The project] is about using colour, clothing or material to give a language to something that's deeper and bigger that most of us wouldn't even understand when we look at facts and figures."

Climate Change t-shirt

The T-shirt is the first collaboration between the two studios, utilising The Unseen's work with material alchemy and The Lost Explorer's organic cotton garments.

To create the T-shirt, Bowker first soaked it in a boiling pan with soda ash – opening up the cotton fibres so that they can absorb the cabbage dye. The garment was then soaked in a cabbage-dye bath, taking on its purple-blue toned shade.

Climate Change t-shirt

Because of cabbage dye's natural response to pH levels, the T-shirt changes colour depending on the state of the water it comes into contact with. When pH levels rise to become too alkaline or fall to be too acidic, fish populations are affected, and it also causes irritation to human skin.

"PH is an innate property of water, one that defines the limits within which life can and can't thrive," said the duo. "The T-shirt starts its life purple to indicate the purest form of neutral water."

Climate Change t-shirt

"When the T-shirt comes into contact with non-neutral water, the pH level of that water is then revealed through the colour of the garment, forming colour shifts through the pH scale from alkaline green to acidic red."

The Lost Explorer is selling a DIY plain version of the T-shirt along with a set of instructions advising wearers on how to colour the garment at home.

As the state of the environment becomes an ever-pressing issue, designers are developing products that can offer solutions to pollution, global warming and sustainability – from a kitchen made from recycled bottles to a pollution-absorbing bikini.

Earlier this week, the world's first commercial carbon-capture plant opened in Switzerland, and is capable of removing 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air annually.

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Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt
Climate Change t-shirt