Speculative design is a provocative tool that generates more conversations than sales. Writing speculative future narratives challenge designers to focus more on the “why” with end results that typically straddle the world of art and design, technology and fiction, commerce and social good.
Aerochromics is a speculative fashion project crafted by Nikolas Bentel that imagines a future dystopia marred by pollution. The environmentally reactive garments become a tool to bring awareness to environmental pollution — making the invisible toxins that we breathe visible.
The garments react to three pollutants: carbon monoxide, particle pollution and radioactivity.
The carbon monoxide detecting sweaters change color when the pollutant is detected and return to its normal state when the toxin is no longer in the environment. The garments work in a similar fashion to carbon monoxide spot detectors.
Unlike the carbon monoxide sweaters, the particle pollution detecting garments use electronics to sense pollution and, in response, heat areas of the garment printed with thermochromic dyes.
The last wearable is a reactive radioactivity shirt uses another smart dye that changes color in response to gamma or electron beam radiation. The clever part of the design is that the shirt loses its capability to switch back to its normal state once you have been overexposed to too much radiation.