Amazing Alchemy: Innovative Wind-Reactive Ink Alters Clothing Color

 When alchemy and fashion blend, there's no telling or even guessing about the outcome. For London-based designer/alchemist, Lauren Bowker, the result is mysterious, wind-reactive ink that dramatically changes color when it reacts with the moisture, chemicals, pollutants and other diverse elements in the air. Using ink as a medium is innovative. It is technically a response to pressure change that causes the ink, which is embedded into the layers of feathered garments, to change color.

Lauren Bowker, the artist 


Lauren Bowker: Source: Vers-24.comLauren Bowker: Source:


Lauren Bowker  is a  graduate of the Manchester School of Art and her innovative designs have earned several awards. Concerned with the environment, she created the award-winning carbon-emission-sensing ink, PDC12, and then went on to the Royal College of Art London where her focus of study was printed textiles. There she continued her research into multi-sensory chromic color-altering inks, and with a touch of modern magical genius fused with a flair for exquisite design, developed unique pieces under the name, PHNX, that were hailed as extraordinary in every facet of the material industry ranging from aeronautics to couture.

Lauren's work has been showcased all over the world including Paris Fashion Week, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Barbican and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Today, she sits on the Board for the European Council for the Internet of Things.

The UNSEEN Studio

Known  as an"exploration house," the UNSEEN is comprised of scientists, chemists and engineers dedicated to material experimentation. The goal of the collective is to blend the worlds of technology, science, art and design. Technology is a vital element in all materials utilized and Lauren Bowker is at the helm of this amazing "magic shop."

The Air Exhibition


Air Couture: Source: DamnGeeky.comAir Couture: Source:


At the UNSEEN studio, Bowker has created a capsule collection and interactive performance of feathered garments designed for Swarovski entitled Air that was showcased at London Fashion Week 2014. The theme of this amazing collection concerns the visual translation of an environmental force into a stunning graphic display. Some of the garments include coats built from intricate layers of fabric and a multi-colored armadillo shell resembling armor that camouflages itself according to the air surrounding the wearer.

In Bowker's own words: "The exhibit is intended to reveal the otherwise unseen turbulence surrounding the human as it goes about its environment. For those who like to indulge in daily wardrobe changes, this may be your one-stop shop."


Wind Reactive Ink: Source: VanillaWalk.orgWind Reactive Ink: Source:


This unique and amazing fabric array blends science harmoniously with art, subtly integrating colors and textures into an edgy, magical form. Inks and dyes are sensitive to seven environmental stimuli: heat, chemicals, pollution, UV, friction, sound and moisture. Each element affects color differently, as pollutants, for example, can change from yellow to black and vice-versa. The wind-reactive ink transforms the garment and translates the environment into an extraordinary kaliedoscope of irridescent beauty.

How does the wind-reactive ink work?

Wind-reactive ink in its own way is aerodynamics redefined. Biological and chemical technologies fuse to create intensely beautiful results. These elements are carefully and seamlessly integrated into layers of  fabric, translating current RGB values in response to pressure change.

The future of wind-reactive ink

Fusing the diverse elements in the universe via alchemy is in some ways like puling that proverbial rabbit out of a hat. It requires skill, knowledge, technique, practice and more than a dash of derring-do. The modern artist/fashion designer's imagination knows no bounds, resulting in creations that thrill the eye and captivate the mind.

Closing thoughts on alchemy:

We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist's eyes to notice. ~ JacobNordby

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