Innovation That Matters

Photocatalytic clothing that can purify the air as you walk

Fashion & Beauty

Trying to make sustainability an effortless part of everyday life has long been a driving force behind innovation, with the in.gredients package-free grocery store being a recent notable example. Now taking this convenience to heights we’ve never seen before, Catalytic Clothing claims to have developed the technology to create clothing that purifies the air around it. The project, sponsored by Ecover, comes from a collaboration between arist Helen Storey MBE, Professor at London College of Fashion University of the Arts London; and chemist Tony Ryan OBE, Professor at The University of Sheffield. Using photocatalysts — which are bound to the surface of the fabrics during the traditional laundry procedure — the clothing draws energy from light, and uses this to break down water in the air into radicals. These highly reactive molecules then react with pollutants to break them down into non-harmful chemicals. A similar process involving photocatalysts is actually already in use products such as paints, paving stones and cement. The video below starring model Erin O-Connor and featuring a soundtrack by Radiohead helps convey the project’s ethos:
According to a report commissioned by the London Air Quality Network, “Traffic-related air pollution remains one of the most pressing problems in urban areas […] evidence of adverse health effects […] continues to emerge at an alarming rate,” which, the pair argues, is what makes the need for such technology so urgent. The clothing isn’t currently available to the public, but there’s plenty to be inspired by here!



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