Shirt That Changes When You Sweat – There is a downside to young adult fashion that can be a sign of embarrassment. For example, a shirt that changes color as a person sweats is something teenagers don’t want to wear. However, clothing company Generra has struck gold with Hypercolor, whose thermochromic garments are dyed using a patented process that allows the cotton fabric to respond to sudden increases in the wearer’s body temperature.
It wasn’t just sweat. If someone puts their hand on the shirt, it leaves a handprint, almost like radiation. Buckles create colored stripes on the back. Even breathing in the fabric caused it to change color. It was interactive “spirit” clothing, and for a short time in 1991, it was one of the hottest clothing trends.
Shirt That Changes When You Sweat
A product that responds to the emotions and behavior of its owners is not a new concept. In 1975, a “mood ring” appeared that used heat-sensitive liquid crystals to change color based on the wearer’s behavior. Soon, mood lipsticks began to appear in beauty products. Freezy Freakies, a line of winter gloves designed for cold weather, took the nation by storm in the 1980s.
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Freezy Freakies used thermochromic ink, a technique similar to how Hypercolor was able to change the appearance of clothing. Founded in 1980 by former executives of the Brittania clothing label, Genera came up with the idea after learning about a process developed by the Japanese chemical company Matsui Shikiso. First, apply a permanent dye to cotton clothes – for example, blue. A thermochromic dye is then added and the microcapsules adhere to the fabric. This dye is usually made of 1-dodecanol, an acid dissolved in a fatty alcohol, and a leuco dye that appears colorless with soluble salts.
1-Dodecanol is solid below 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. By reacting with salt at temperatures above 75.2 degrees Celsius, the previously colorless leuco dye acquires a new color based on the absorption and reflection of light by the fabric. If the leuco paint is yellow and the shirt is blue, the warmed spot will be green.
Of course, few kids cared much about the science behind it—they just knew they could change the color of their shirts. Genera became the exclusive licensee of the Hypercolor technology in the United States, and in the late 1990s launched an advertising campaign covering MTV and teen magazines.
A marketing onslaught led to Hypercolor’s official debut in January 1991 with much anticipation. Available at retail outlets, this apparel usually has the Hypercolor logo or no logo at all. Prospective buyers can sample the thermochromic process in the store. Even better, they can do it in schools where the kids who buy the shirts walk down the hallways and act as living billboards for the line.
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“Everybody was trying to touch it and breathe it and change colors,” said customer Courtney Signorella, 12, a student at Fort Myers Middle School in Fort Myers, Florida.
July 1991 class reaction to his Hypercolor kit. Clothes change color even when exposed to air conditioning, under the sun, or during exercise.
Steve Miska, who was Genera’s boss at the time, dismissed concerns that the outfit might be a neon sign of nerves. Tried the garment on my own workers and felt that underarm discoloration was patchy and not very noticeable. Although they made shorts and jeans, there was no noticeable discoloration in the groin area. For a potentially controversial outfit, Hypercolor got away without a scratch.
The only problem? Genera underestimated how fascinating people would be. The company projected sales of $20 million in 1991. By April of that year, they had sold $50 million worth of Hypercolor merchandise, from T-shirts ($24) to T-shirts ($15) to shorts ($34). The Hypergrafix spin-off line used visual images with temperature spikes. This year, the company generated $105 million in wholesale revenue, five times more than they expected.
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But Hypercolor’s success came at a price. There was a shortage of used dyes and many orders to fill. Genera added workers and new manufacturing facilities at its home base in Seattle, but only met half of the demand. As production began to recover, consumer enthusiasm for Hypercolor began to wane.
After the first innovation, which saw a change in handprint or color, shirts were not much different from the rest of the clothes in the closet. If the charm of the clothes did not disappear, the paint soon did. Washing or machine drying (which is not recommended) often dilutes the reaction and turns the garment into a strange purple-brown color. Younger shoppers were interested in licensed sportswear, such as NBA jerseys, as well as fashion trends offered by outlets such as the Gap.
In 1991, at the height of the product’s popularity. Little did he know how true those words would soon be.
By 1992, the fad was over, Genera filed for bankruptcy, sold its screen printing plant, and licensed Hypercolor apparel to a company called Seattle T-shirts for a dwindling number of consumers.
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Heat-resistant clothing never completely disappeared. In 2008, several manufacturers, including American Apparel and Puma, tried to revive the style with shirts, dresses, and sneakers. Currently, the Shadow Shifter clothing line offers shirts and other products that respond to both temperature and water. Despite Genera’s optimism, Hypercolor was a flash of warm color. Neat™ is a blend of fabric and technology that keeps you from looking sweaty on the inside. It is normal for us to sweat throughout our lives. The clothes we wear should only follow suit.
Great technology! I know the shirt is meant for casual wear, but I decided to wear it for a 4 mile run in 85 degree heat in full sun. Normally, my entire chest would be covered in sweat stains, but this shirt absorbed all the moisture inside and kept me from looking like I just got out of the pool. Keith
I was a little apprehensive about buying this shirt because of the price, but my friend talked me into it and I’m glad I bought it. This shirt is amazing! It feels good to wear. Similar to other sportswear materials, but more comfortable. And Sweatproof technology really works! Marianne
I bought this shirt for my husband who sweats a lot, especially in warm weather. He’s sometimes embarrassed when he’s not working out, but there are traces of sweat under his shirt and under his armpits. He usually sweats at birthday parties, family dinners, and holiday parties. No traces of his sweat can be seen in this shirt. This is really amazing. I don’t understand how it works, but it does. Shannon
Shirts Change With Sweat
After two hours of cycling in 80 degree heat, the t-shirt performed surprisingly well. I came home after seeing the ARMPIT sweaty CAR. I would be very comfortable to wear it for daily life, business meetings, social events, summer and other occasions. I also bought a white undershirt, it is comfortable, the material is durable and very soft. Will definitely buy again. Irem
When I came across this t-shirt listing, I wanted to check out the “sweat-free” claim. After wearing it a few times I have to say I am hooked! The shirt itself has a great fit, is great for casual wear, and the super comfortable fabric seems to hold up really well. And the sweat-wicking fabric is exactly as described, it seems to basically wick sweat away without feeling wet or discolored. A game changer! Patrick
Besides t-shirts! Amazingly comfortable and the material is unlike anything I’ve ever bought before. The reed of the material sweats without traces and remains dry. Worth the investment. Francesco
I was impressed with how well the t-shirt managed to hold sweat even after a hard workout. There were no traces of sweat on the outside. The material is very comfortable – flexible, soft and very pleasant to wear. Flemming advises
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