Color-changing hair dye sounds like a Hollywood CGI stunt, but it’s real-life magic.
Unveiled at last month’s London Fashion Week, Lauren Bowker’s FIRE collection, for her company The Unseen, features hair color that shifts hues depending on the temperature. Think of it as a full-head mood ring.
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Bowker, who also happens to be a practicing witch, explains on her website that her near-magical creation is inspired by “occult glamour – a spell cast on somebody to make them see something the spell-caster wishes them to see.
It sounds too whimsical to work, but there’s real chemistry behind the colors. WIRED details the science behind it:
When the temperature drops or rises, the carbon-based molecules at the core of the FIRE dye undergo a reversible reaction. Above a certain temperature change, one of the molecules in the carbon bond is more stable than the other, and so a reaction produces a molecule with a slightly different absorption of light, thus creating a different color.
But Bowker’s ambitions lie in something much bigger than fashion: She’s using data and technology to make topics like climate change and the environment more accessible to the rest of the world. She told Dazed:
“If I give you a book of data and say this is your carbon footprint, and say ‘look at what you’ve done it’s really bad’, you probably wouldn’t listen to it. But if I give you a jacket, put you behind a bus and that jacket changes color to visibly show you the pollution that surrounds you at that moment, you’re really going to understand it and have more of a connection to it. The reason I use color a lot as a data visualization in materials that we’re familiar with, is to allow people to see the bigger picture.”
Watch the enchanting color-change in action:
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