Seeing the Unseen With Ink

Who thought that ink was just a means to put thoughts on paper or pretty up garments will be put right when meeting Lauren Bowker – the founder of a London design house where ink visualizes the unseen.

When Clothes Change Color …

… the reasons are diverse. During a run, for instance, the color of a T-shirt can change from – let’s say – bright to dark red. After a walk in the rain, the same happens. But a scarf changing colors in response to motion and environmental changes? Here, the explanation is a lot more interesting, a lot more complex, and involves ink.

The Language of Color Through Ink

Lauren Bowker, the founder of the London design house The Unseen, has developed inks that change their color under specific circumstances. With fashion or accessories treated with Bowker’s inks, a colorful intermezzo is guaranteed, as environmental fluctuations in temperature, moisture, pressure, light – and even emotions – influence their look.

Through the language of color, Bowker has found a way to make the invisible visible. When talking about her inks, she likes to refer to the nature surrounding us: Like trees changing their color with the seasons; fruit before going off. This way of communication nature uses, Bowker wants to use as well. And her inks – of which she has a lot, all responding to different stimuli and usable on almost any material – give her the means to do it.

More Than a Fashion Hype

It was a personal issue which inspired Lauren Bowker to her invention. As she suffered from the debilitating spinal condition, she longed for products to monitor her spine and her condition. Meanwhile she has achieved a lot more: There’s leather responding to environmental change, a car paint or concrete picturing the carbon emission level, or a headpiece that can help you understand more about your brain and the chemical fluxes from it – which makes her inks a lot more than only a specialty garment treatment stirring every fashionistas blood. Lately, a color-changing T-shirt added her edition. It changes color when in contact with polluted water, thus alerting its wearers to the effects of climate change.

All of Bowker’s inventions are the outcome of intense research. Dissecting data for their meaning, finding patterns, identifying the triggers, then visualizing the data through color gives a brief summary of the work done at The Unseen.

“Color is such a universal language that often is used unintelligently”,

Bowker states, implying that her efforts aren’t at an end yet.

If you had a say, which hidden phenomenon would you like to come to color? Leave us your comment in the section on the right.