Photochromia is a collaboration between two companies at the intersection of apparel and technology. A collection of sunlight sensitive garments, created by Maddy, co-founder of The Crated, & Meredith, co-founder of Print All Over Me. Through their unique collaboration, they aim to contribute to a future where clothing is truly responsive to our environment.
Inks that change color when exposed to sunlight undergo a process called photochromism. These inks are also known as photochromic inks, which inspired the name of the collection. Photochromic inks are considered to be bi-phasic. This means that they alter between two states, often triggered by electromagnetic radiation. The photochromic inks alter between clear and opaque, but some photochromic inks change from one colored state to another. Leuco dyes are commonly used for creating transitions in photochromic inks. These are dyes whose molecules can acquire two forms, one of which is colorless. This is the sort of dye used for Photochromia. Lueco dyes can also be used for thermochromism (changing state when stimulated by heat). Generally, the molecular structure of a Leuco dye, when clear, reflects photons, appearing to be white or clear. When stimulated with UV light, the chemical structure of the dye changes to a conjugated system. Conjugated systems are very stable and give rise to strong pigments as they reflect photons. This reflection of photons makes the pigment appear to be black.
What about the production process? The designs are printed on a fabric with a digital printer, then the UV-reactive inks are applied thanks to a screen printing. The printed fabric is then washed, cut and sewn into Print All Over Me-designed garments and accessories.
“We believe that PHOTOCHROMIA is a small, but sure step towards reactive garments being integrated into our everyday lives. Even more so, we believe that collaboration within the design and technology world is essential and we hope to inspire future collaborations between NYC startups in the future. Let’s create a world full of enchanted objects rather than backlit screens. “ Maddy Maxey, Head of Technology, The Crated.
After more than one year of work, the team secured a reliable, ethical and functional supply chain, that they are constantly iterating and growing to perfect their garments. The team is currently having a Kickstarter campaign, calling for pledges to help them settle this process.