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Explaining Science Through Fashion

Published date
24 Jul 2018

Science/Art collaborations by Helen Storey, Professor of Fashion and Science

Professor Helen Storey works collaboratively on Science/Art projects that illustrate and explain complicated concepts to the public in an exciting and innovative way.

Three key pieces illustrate these collaborative projects, her impact and recognition.

Primitive Streak (from 1997)

Primitive Streak used design and hybrid materials to create 27 pieces of textiles and dress explaining eleven key events in human embryonic development during the first 1,000 hours of life.

The project, produced in collaboration with Storey’s sister Professor Kate Storey and staff and students at UAL, was one of the first six grant recipients in the Wellcome Trust’s Sciart scheme.

In 2011 the project won a second Wellcome Trust award to help expand the research, showing its longevity and funding pieces around lung development, a film Breathe and the Primitive Streak website.

Wonderland (from 2005)

Wonderland focuses on highlighting the waste in current industry practices. Dissolving Bottles, a collaboration with Tony Ryan (University of Sheffield), looks at intelligent packaging in the form of bottles that dissolve when placed under hot water to form a gel in which seeds can be grown.

Disappearing Dresses with Trish Belford (University of Ulster) questions the sustainability of our current fashion industry and what happens to used clothing and comprises dresses made from materials that dissolve upon contact with water, producing different reactions.

Wonderland installations have appeared throughout the UK and formed educational projects for school children. The project has received sponsorship from Sainsbury’s, and support from Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Sheffield City Council and Arts and Business.

Catalytic Clothing (from 2010)

Catalytic Clothing’s innovation is a treatment for clothing that removes common pollutants from the air. Nano-particles of titanium dioxide react with nitrogen dioxide (commonly produced by motor vehicles) to create a harmless neutralized end product which is then washed away in the next laundry cycle.

Installations and films, including a film (above) by Adam Mufti starring Erin O’Connor with a soundtrack by Radiohead, aided public engagement and a viral campaign reached a global audience of 300 million people worldwide. Catalytic Clothing featured in many prestigious science festivals, won the Condé Nast Traveller Innovation and Design Award 2012 (Sustainability) and has attracted financial investment from Ecover who are considering how air purification technology could be brought to their market.

Related links

Helen's research profile