Back in the 1990s, Hypercolor shirts were all the rage—that is, until consumers realized their high-tech heat-responsive shirts were turning a drab purple color after a few washes. But now, New York-based designer Nikolas Bentel is bringing back the Hypercolor concept to raise awareness of pollution. Instead of designing shirts that change color in response to heat, however, Bentel’s shirts shift their hues in response to a range of pollutants.

Dezeen reports that each shirt in Bentel’s new Aerochromics line responds to radioactivity or a different pollutant. For example, Bentel has created a shirt that changes color in response to carbon monoxide, and another that changes in response to particle pollutants like dust or smog. Bentel claims the shirts rely on technologies that have been around for a while but in a way that is, nevertheless, unprecedented for a clothing line. For instance, the carbon monoxide shirt uses the same technology as a carbon monoxide spot detector. The idea, he claims, is to make people more aware of the pollutants in their environment.

“The color-changing Aerochromic dye gives the user the awareness of their surroundings through a natural interface as opposed to a smartphone screen, while the connected clothing will let us know when, where, and how pollutants are moving,” Bentel writes on his website. “We see Aerochromics as the first step in creating an ecosystem of interconnected objects that will help us better understand, navigate, and protect our world.”

[h/t Dezeen]

Banner Image Credit: Dezeen, YouTube