• Catalytic Clothing

What if your clothes could purify the air around you, and help cut down on pollution? Pushing the limits of fashion and science, Catalytic Clothing is a collaboration between artist/designer Helen Storey and chemist Tony Ryan, who are taking the idea of eco-friendly fashion one step further.

While brands like H&M are working on sustainable ranges, like their Conscious collection, Catalytic Clothing wants to go far beyond that and create clothes that will actually help the environment. An additive (called CatClo) on the fabric’s surface would react with oxygen and break up pollutants in the air, actively cleaning your environment as you move around it.

But rather than creating all-new clothing in a specially made fabric, they’re working on a laundry product that would coat our existing wardrobes with the additive every time we washed them. And because the additive only needs to be on the surface, not embedded within the fibres, it shouldn’t damage or change the way our clothes look.

Right now the project’s still in development, but on their Facebook page it’s been suggested that CatClo could be available for us to buy within the next two years. And the big idea is that, eventually, we’ll add it to all our laundry without giving it a second thought.

Estimates about the effects are starting to come through: it’s been worked out that if one person wore CatClo-treated clothes for an average day they should be able to get rid of roughly 5g of nitrogen oxides in the environment. That’s about the same amount that the average family car adds to the air each day.

For Spring 2013 the Catalytic Clothing homepage issued an update; the team is now working with the Research and Development departments of major laundry brands. We’ll be watching for what happens next, and waiting to try it as soon as it hits the shelves.

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