Catalytic Clothing

Van Mensvoort
June 16th 2011

Catalytic Clothing is a fashionably calm technology that aims to tackle air pollution by embedding a substance in the clothing that purifies air when you wear it.

The purifying effect is established by treating clothes with a photo-catalyst that is able to break down air borne pollutants from industry and motor vehicles. This photo-catalyst can simply be added to your clothing in a normal laundry procedure.

It almost all sounds too good to be true, until you read that a significant reduction in the level of air borne pollutants in a large city such as London will only be achieved if, for every meter of pavement width, 30 people wearing catalytic clothes walked past each minute – unsure if you can still breathe in such a crowded space.

Nonetheless we must applaud the symbolic power of the concept. And luckily, the photo-catalyst can also be added to paints, cements and paving stones.

The Catalytic Clothing project is a collaboration between artist/designer Helen Storey and chemist Tony Ryan. Thanks Kat Chan.

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Koert van Mensvoort
Posted 24/06/2011 – 23:38

@catalytic clothing. Thanks for pointing that out. Guess I didn't realize London was that crowded.

Catalytic Clothing
Posted 24/06/2011 – 19:46

Thanks for featuring the film, great post! The project team took the footfall figures themselves from Oxford St, London and surprisingly 30 people walking past every minute was the average result. So on some the most polluted and busiest streets of London Catalytic Clothing could actually make a massive difference. It really isn't too good to be true.

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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