Clothing to purify air

Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011 in News| Share this article

A unique collaboration between the worlds of fashion and science, led by the University of Sheffield and London College of Fashion, has seen pioneers explore how clothing and textiles can purify the air we breathe. The venture, entitled Catalytic Clothing, is asking the public to join the campaign for clean air; giving them the opportunity, at this early stage, to shape the technology that has the potential to transform our lives.

Employing existing technology in a new way, Catalytic Clothing seeks to explore how clothing and textiles can be used as a catalytic surface to purify the air. An exclusive film about the project starring Erin O’Connor with soundtrack by Radiohead is already going viral.

CatClo from Protein® on Vimeo.

The project is the creation of unlikely collaborators Professor Helen Storey MBE, a practising artist and designer at London College of Fashion, and Professor Tony Ryan OBE, a scientist at the University of Sheffield. It is hoped the fusion of fashion and science will produce extraordinary results.

With the shared purpose of tackling some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems and the desire to improve the quality of our lives and those of future generations, the radical idea for Catalytic Clothing emerged.

Professor Tony Ryan OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, University of Sheffield, commented: “Catalytic Clothing is a beautiful manifestation of a deeply technical process. We will engage the public in formulating its nature and application allowing us to develop something that is both user-friendly and technically excellent.”

Professor Helen Storey MBE added: “Catalytic Clothing is the most challenging, globally relevant project I have ever attempted. Behind almost all human advancement lies a science. Through my work, I try to share and involve the public with these possibilities.”

The need for this campaign has never been so vital and so apparent. In parallel with many countries around the world levels of air pollution in the UK have reached dangerously high levels. National estimates suggest air quality is a contributory factor in approximately 50,000 premature deaths. Whilst much is being done to tackle air quality at source, it was clear a radical solution was needed and Catalytic Clothing was born.

Project partner ECOVER, who seek to contribute to the process of creating economic, ecological and social change commented: “ECOVER is extremely excited about the potential of Catalytic Clothing to contribute to a more sustainable future. The idea that we could utilise our clothing to reduce air borne pollution is astonishing which is why we are excited about joining this campaign and seeing how the public respond to this radical idea.”