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This special T-shirt changes colours according to water pollution – VIDEO

Ocean acidification is an issue that most of us gloss over because it is not as visible as a crack in the Antarctic ice shelf or a coast stricken by a hurricane.

David de Rothschild, founder of the lifestyle brand The Lost Explorer, and Lauren Bowker, the designer behind The Unseen decided to raise awareness on this issue, ecause certain problems need to be seen to be believed. They created a special kind of T-shirt that changes colors in response to a water’s pH. When making it, no toxic chemicals were used, only cabbage.

The cotton and hemp T-shirt was dyed using red cabbage, a leafy green that is rich in water-solluble pigments known as anthocyanins. These pigments respond to changes in pH by cycling through a spectrum of colours ranging from red-pink to blue-green, according to Inhabitat.

The T-shirt changing colours according to water pollution
Photo: Design Indaba

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen-oxide emissions from factories, automobiles and electric power plants contribute to acid rain, while some detergents might cause wastewater to become overly alkaline. “So the T-shirts, by changing color, are a really good way of figuring out the state of the local water,” Bowker said.

Rotschild and Bowker know that a colour-changing garment can’t save the world. “I like creating experiences that disarm people because if it’s insane, magical and unexpected enough, they might feel safer about asking questions. It’s this convergence of art and activism and creativity and design. It hopefully isn’t telling people what to do,” Rothschild said.

Daisy Wilder