Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Now a few may take to wearing their eco-credentials too, in the form of jeans that work the same way as catalytic converters in cars.
The catalytic jeans are the brainchild of the chemist Professor Tony Ryan and the fashion designer Professor Helen Storey, who discovered that when denim is covered with tiny particles of a mineral called titanium dioxide, it reacts with air and light to break down harmful emissions in the air.
Nitrogen oxide (NO2) pollutants – produced mainly by traffic and factories – are then neutralised and simply washed away when the garment is laundered.
So in theory, jeans wearers of the future could help to clean the dirty air around them simply by walking about in their favourite pair of Wranglers or Levis.
With toxic emissions killing an estimated 1.3 million people a year worldwide, the resulting improvement in air quality could significantly reduce deaths and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
Professor Storey, of the London College of Fashion, was the enfant terrible of fashion 20 years ago, renowned for dressing stars such as Madonna and Cher. Her designs bore shock images, including one of a foetus, and in 1995 she caused a furore by sending bare-bottomed models down the catwalk.
But in 2004 her life changed when, through her biologist sister, she “re-discovered science” and had a meeting of minds with Professor Ryan, from Sheffield University. The pair started working on a green science and fashion collaboration called Wonderland, which developed into Catalytic Clothing. Their eureka moment came when they realised that microscopic particles of titanium oxide, which is contained in glass, paving stones and sun cream, worked as a pollution-buster when sprayed on clothes.
The concept is based on research that shows each person has unique feet, and ways of walking. Sensors in the bio-soles check the pressure of feet, monitor gait, and use a microcomputer to compare the patterns to a master file for that person. If the patterns match the bio-soles go to sleep. If they don’t, a wireless alarm message can go out.
The lab, which has $1.5 million in startup funding, is a partnership with Autonomous ID, a Canadian company that is relocating to several U.S. cities. Todd Gray, the company president, said he saw the potential when his daughter was in a maternity ward decorated with representations of different baby feet all along a wall.
Autonomous ID has been working on prototypes since 2009, with the goal of making a relatively low cost ID system. Gray said they’ve already run tests on sample bio-soles, which are no thicker than a common foot pad sold in pharmacies, and achieved an accuracy rate of more than 99 percent. He said Carnegie Mellon will broaden the tests to include “a full spectrum of society: big, tall, thin, heavy, athletic, multicultural, on a diet, twins and so on.”
Gray wouldn’t speculate on what the system will cost or when it might reach the marketplace, but each worker at a site would have his or her own pair of bio-soles.
“Within the third step, it knows it’s you, and it goes back to sleep,” he said. “If I put on yours, it would know almost instantly that I’m not you.”
Strange Random Shoe Quote:
“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.” ― Jack Handey
- Shoes With A Red Sole (beautifulcurious.wordpress.com)
- Cash-strapped women are painting their shoe soles red to get the Louboutin look for less (fashion.telegraph.co.uk)
- Christian Louboutin Loses Red-Sole Case Against Yves Saint Laurent (fabsugar.com)
- Japan invented a suction doormat that cleans shoe soles [Video] (thezigzagger.com)
- Taking Flats to a New Level (fabsugar.com)
- Louis Garneau Tri-Lite Shoes (ymmvreviews.com)
- DIY Louboutins? Fashionistas customize their shoe soles (thelook.today.msnbc.msn.com)
- Fab Finds of The Week: Simply Fabulous Shoes (fabsugar.com)
The dots are meant to evoke the heritage of the Perry Ellis brand and signal that a playful attitude for which the brand was known is coming back. For instance, in one print advertisement, the polka dots look as if they were produced by a puckish model wielding a hole puncher.
In addition to appearing in the print ads, the polka dots will decorate hang tags and turn up, discreetly, in garment linings.
The print ads are part of a campaign for Perry Ellis clothing, with a budget estimated at $10 million, that is intended to stimulate demand for fall merchandise like men’s shirts. The ads are being created by a new agency for the brand, Yard, based in New York. Knock, an agency in Minneapolis, worked on the new hang tags as well as a redesign of packaging and the Perry Ellis logo.
In addition to reviving heritage elements like the polka dots, the campaign will seek to freshen the brand image for contemporary consumers who may not be familiar with the designer Perry Ellis. At his death in 1986 at the age of 46, he was considered one of the Big Three of American fashion designers along with Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.
Strange Random Brand Quote:
Economics is (now) about emotion and psychology. – Professor Robert Shiller, Yale.
- Spotted, Literally: See How Jessica, Gwen, Diane, and More Perfect Polka Dots (fabsugar.com)
- Fab Flash: There’s a Gap at GAP, Inc. (fabsugar.com)
- ADVENTURES IN REPOSITIONING: Perry Ellis Getting Its Own Retro Rebranding This Fall (theshophound.typepad.com)
Strange Random Clothing Quote:
Unmentionables – those articles of ladies’ apparel that are never discussed in public, except in full-page, illustrated ads. – Changing Times
- Where’s the Quality (myopinionation.wordpress.com)
- New Balance M998 “Made In The U.S.A” (visiblethreadstx.com)
- MeUndies launches comfortable undies for delivery (vator.tv)
This month in New York a zoot suit sold for $78,000.
It was a world-record performance made all the more surprising by the disparity between the value printed for it in the auction catalog: $600-$900.
“I like to always be on the conservative side with my estimates,” says Karen Augusta, who owns the highly-regarded Augusta Auctions vintage clothing company that sold the suit. “In my heart I thought it could sell for as much as $5,000, maybe more. And then when I was deluged with phone calls from pretty major museums in the country, I thought well, hmm, this is going to sell for way more than I expected.”
Indeed. The cream-colored woolen outfit is the only zoot suit known to have been sold at auction in the United States. One buyer from a large museum said she had been waiting 40 years to find something like it.
Strange Random Clothes Quote:
It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes. – Henry David Thoreau
- From the Bookshelves: Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style by Kathy Peiss (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Today’s Seriously Sagging Britches Have a Precedent in the Society Challenging ‘Zoot Suit’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- “A Zoot Suit” – Dorothy Dandridge & Paul White Soundie (the1955hudson.com)
- Hep Cats, Street Fights (online.wsj.com)
- ‘Vintage is…’ by Rhiannon Hill (litandspoken.southbankcentre.co.uk)