The magic of Catalytic Clothing —stylish sustainability

Science is banking on fashion industry to make a difference on environment 

Red Planet,an air-purifying clothes displayed at Sheffield

Glimmering models are walking down the catwalk and leaving behind them an array of fresh air. The magical clothes they wear break downs pollutants down and make the air safer for all of us.

Welcome to the world of Catalytic Clothing (Cat Clo), initiated  by Fashion expert Helen Storey, from the London College of Fashion and Chemistry professor, Tony Ryan, from the University of Sheffield.

Their combined effort have created a coating for common textiles with a catalytic called ultrafine titanium dioxide. This tiny particle breaks down  Nitrogen oxide, a major vehicle emission into less harmful substances. Study has shown that nitrogen oxide sickens our lungs and livers, destroys the Ozone and contributes to 29,000 death each year in the UK.

“In Sheffield, the nitric oxide level on average is above the limit set by the European Air Quality Standards which is 40 micrograms of nitric oxide per cubic metre.” Tony Ryan said.

Together with Ecover, a Belgium detergent manufacturer, they will develop a CatClo loaded laundry additive. If all goes well, this trendy solution to air quality will soon be available in stores at a price similar to fabric conditioner


The Catclo can be added in the normal laundry process. The nano-particles, which is 100 times smaller than the width of human hair, will cling tightly to the fibre, giving the clothes a air-purifying ability.

One person in CatClo laden clothes can treat 5gs of nitrogen oxide a day. “All citizens become part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem”, says Ecover.

The First Cat Clog treated jeans  unveiled in London in 2011 was followed by series of fashion exhibitions staging a wider variety of Cat Clo dresses in Europe.

“within a few generations, sustainability  will be a natural part of creating, or producing anything”, says Prof. Helen Storey.

The underlying nano-technology is already used in sunscreen and construction materials, “We already know how it works and we know its safe” says Professor Tony Ryan.


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