Shorts that change colour under the sun

[India] Would you wear an algae? How about one that makes your dress change colours when out in the sun. Intrigued?

Well, meet Bina Sridhar and Saranya Shalini who isolated an algae strain to form a dye that allows a garment to change its colour under the exposure of direct sunlight. “This research has been done before in Berlin first,” says Bina, a student at the JD Institute of Fashion Technology.

An algae that is a byproduct of water pollution can lead to eutrophication and damage water sources and the life in it. As algae is biodegradable, its use as a dye could minimise the damage to the ecosystem.

“With the help of a few lab officials, we procured fresh water algae from ponds in Kanchipuram. The algae strain Spirulina was isolated,”says the 42-year-old.

This isolated algae has the property to change its colour from green to bluish green after prolong exposure to direct sunlight. “We distilled the algae, filtered it and then ground it into powder form. This was mixed with a solvent to form algal dye pigment that has the property of colour change, due to the pigments present in them,” says Bina.

She says that it was a struggle to get the dye on to the fabric as it was thickly pigmented. “We tried block printing, but that did not work out. Screen printing is what works, but as it is a thick paste, the it would clot faster. We had to keep washing the screens,” she adds.

Akash Das, faculty of design at JD Institute of Fashion Technology, says that the best way to go forward with this algal dye is to use the screen printing technique or to paint the fabric manually.

“We ran a series of tests to determine the wash care needed and also conducted dermatological tests,” says the lecturer while explaining the approval tests for the dye.

The team of students hopes to also leave a psychological impact on consumers who wear their line. They aim to explore newer possibilities of utilising the garment by the wearer as it changes colour because of the unconventional property of the natural dye pigment.

“Our collection is feminine, smart, casual and chic,” says Bina. Their line features shorts and capes.

You can check out their collection that has algal dye prints at the annual design award show of JD Institute of Fashion Technology on May 19 and 20.


View original article at: Shorts that change colour under the sun





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