20 years ago in Chemistry in Britain


RSC fashion show in 1991 - before the days of Gok Wan

The Royal Society of Chemistry and the London College of Fashion have teamed up to put on a fashion show entitled Chemically chic at the Savoy Hotel in London. Judith Haan of the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World  said that chemistry has played a key role in the development of synthetic textiles, in treating natural fibres, in clothes care, and in dyes and design.  

Chemistry’s latest contribution to the world of fashion - thermochromic fabric, which changes colour when you wear it - was featured.  

Student fashion models danced down the catwalk, wearing a range of outfits, from figure-hugging to loose fitting, made with fabrics dyed with Licritherm, a screen printing ink produced by Merck. 

The ink incorporates liquid crystals that change colour across a range from red to violet as the temperature rises from 28 to 35?C 

Chemistry in Britain   (June 1991) 

Ed. With the growth in nanotechnology and biosensors, there is now available a complete range of smart textiles with a variety of properties, eg curtains that light up in the dark, clothes which measure the body’s temperature, heart activity or immune system resistance, clothes that signal your location, clothes that cool in extreme heat, self-cleaning clothes, odour-free socks, purses that change pattern when a mobile phone rings, etc. One recent smart textile application is a T-shirt featuring a pink heart or set of lungs on the front of the shirt that flash blue when unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide are detected.