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Bershka has opened the ban by proposing a collection for the mass public, but how does it work – and because – clothes that change color with the sun?

Technological evolution is also present day by day in the moda, pero, like in this case, we usually see it much more palpably when it affects the finish or effects «especiales»Of the tissues. We go from total prints, to repellent fabrics (of sweat), to reflective fabrics… now comes the turn of clothes that change color with the sun.

Bershka has just released a collection called «UV React« that puts the focus on a series of garments that make prints and letters appear and disappear when the sun hits them. Although now is when it reaches the mass public, these types of fabrics are already on the market since the year 2014.

ropa que cambia de color con el sol
Berhska UV React campaign photo

Who "invented" clothes that change color with the sun?

These garments and finishes were first seen in the year 2014 thanks to a project of The Unseen. This is a London creative studio led by Lauren Bowker who designed what they called Chameleon clothing with which the garments – and in your case also accessories – changed color thanks to the action of heat.

The material with which the garments were made had chemical nanotechnology through the inks so that when it came into contact with environmental factors, like wind, UVA rays or humidity the fabric responded by changing its appearance. According to the creatives they intended "Reveal the environment-related upheavals that surround humans and that otherwise remain invisible«.

But it wouldn't be until the year 2017 when Swedish researcher Marjan Kooroshnia from the University of Borås found a way to apply thermochromic dyes – that change color depending on the temperature – to fabrics in a simpler and more useful way. It was the first time that something like this was applied in the context of textile design to wear. Es decir, went from an art and science project to a feasible reality. That is why I put "invented" in quotation marks in the highlight, since what she did was apply it to the most convenient reality.moda.

ropa que cambia de color con el sol
Marjan Kooroshnia. (Photo: University of Borås)

With his experiments he managed to mix the dyes in a way thate assimilated when they were in a state of temperature «normal» and they changed to different colors when their temperature rose.

To further enhance the color change effect they are usually applied in designs with elements that remain fixed in order to further enhance the coloring effect. As she commented «the idea of ​​creating the fabric came from the rings that change color«

ropa que cambia de color con el sol

It is a technique that, buscando, I have seen that it is applied a lot in children's clothing. That people who love DYI got this type of fabric – almost always with cute prints – to dress the little ones. I was surprised because it seems like something very funny and that I am very surprised that it took so long to make the jump to streetwear.

The truth is that there is not much information on this type of fabric but as I have seen they exist in different fabrics like wool, knit and cotton. And with them can also go a certain percentage of elastane. Here you can see a quick video example of how the fabric changes color:

What are thermochromic pigments?

So that we understand a little better how they work, we will analyze what they are and how thermochromic pigments or dyes are obtained.. Thermochromic pigments are pigments composed of microcapsules in which the color changes in a reversible or irreversible way produced by changes in their temperature. These types of pigments began to develop in the years 70.

The two common approaches to achieve this type of pigment are based on liquid crystals and leuco dyes. Liquid crystals are used in precision applications, since your answers can be designed at precise temperatures, but its color range is limited by its working principle. Leuco dyes allow for a wider range of colors, but their response temperatures are more difficult to establish accurately.

Por ejemplo, can be used in paints, plastics, paints, toys, accesorios. They are suitable for any process in which a certain temperature needs to be detected or known (either by cold or by heat) for example in glasses, spoons, heating appliances, hot-cold conduction elements, etc. This can have really practical uses such as baby bottles that change to a different color when they are cold enough to drink, or teapots that change when the water is at the boiling point.

It can help us to know that everything is at the temperature it should be or warn if something has changed. Of course you can also get objects that change color by contacting human heat since we will transmit our body heat.