A Rorschach-Worthy Fashion Line Wants to Protect You From Air Pollution

Designer Nikolas Bentel designed a reactive line of clothing that changes colors in the presence of toxic pollutants.
July 28, 2016, 2:55pm
GIF and screencaps by the author, via

We’ve written about a lot of the remarkable innovations happening in the world of fashion today and are constantly learning more about the utilitarian potential of our clothing.

A new line of clothing changes its pattern based on the amount of pollution in the air. Created by designer and engineer Nikolas Bentel, who previously wowed us with his digestible jewelry, the clothes in the Aerochromics line respond when they detect increased levels of pollutants in the air like radioactivity, carbon monoxide and particle pollution. Bentel’s 100 percent cotton shirts are dyed using a ‘Aerochromic’ dye that starts to turn the fabric from black to white at 60 AQI (Air Quality Index), the point at which air becomes dangerous to breathe.

The shirt’s full design is revealed at when 160 AQI is reached. Bentel says he believes that 30% of the people living on this planet are breathing in air that is 60 AQI or higher. Now more than ever, metropolitan areas around the world need to be monitored closely to ensure safe living conditions. But therein lies the issue: the facilities built to collect and monitor data concerning our air quality, are immobile. Bentel’s shirts allow you to measure the air you are breathing anywhere you go.

The Aerochromics website writes, “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.” Thus it's a strong creative effort in the fight against pollution, akin to Greg McNevin’s light mapping portraits of Chernobyl. Check out Aerochromics in the video below:

Check out Aerochromics online, and for more works by Nikolas Bentel, head over to his website.


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