Climate Change Couture prepares fashionistas for environmental changes

 Climate Change Couture
The heat shield dress.
Credit: Climate Change Couture

For all the concerns about the impact of climate change, little thought has gone into what costumes would work best should the worst really happen.

Enter: Philippine designer Catherine Young with the Climate Change Couture line, complete with scented oxygen and heat protection.

Metro: How can your designs protect us?

Young: Climate Change Couture is part of a design research project into the effects of climate change, based on data about that impact from labs in Singapore. One design – the apocalypse evacuation suit – features a smell mask to help us breathe. Instead of regular oxygen, it could be scented with something like lavender, which has been shown to calm people down. It would help in an evacuation or a claustrophobic environment.

How difficult is it to make protective clothing stylish?

I designed these clothes more for function, and I think the aesthetics come later. The design has to be responsive to the environment, and I wanted to use them to tell the story and get people to relate and think about the effects of climate change.

How much of a demand is there for such designs?

It’s more for the discussion at this point. People have a hard time thinking about the future and these may help to visualize how it could be. Needs vary – these are specific to Singapore – but people everywhere should understand these designs might be needed if we don’t take action. My goal is not to mass-produce them. I don’t want to walk around with a bubble on my head, it would be hard to socialize!



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