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800,000 years of data, 1 clear message

By Partner


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Data is everywhere, it’s collected about everything to help us learn and improve our world. But there are not many data sets that extend back over 800,000 years, telling us all sorts of fascinating facts about the place we live…Earth. One of these facts has been ignored for too long – global warming. If we don’t act now we run the risk of losing our home, it’s that simple, and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has joined with DressCode Shirts to deepen this conversation.

Chilling facts

800,000 years of climate history captured in Antarctic ice cores shows that current CO2 concentrations are 30% above the highest CO2 levels our planet has ever experienced over the last 800,000 years.


The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have studied the polar regions of Earth for a very long time. They are passionate about our planet and the need to refresh the climate change dialogue, engaging people in new conversations, to help us all better understand what’s happened and why we need to take action.

But there is a big question - How could more people connect with these huge datasets? A passion for exploring these questions brought BAS, climate scientist Ed Hawkins and DressCode Shirts together.

“Clothing felt like a good opportunity, it was something that everyone could wear and it would be a great way to express the message.” said Pilvi Muschitiello.

Smart shirts

BAS have explored a number of creative channels to share environmental data. As we approach COP26 the BAS Innovation team were looking for something different, something that they could have with them at all times that would express the work they carry out and the importance of listening to what the data is telling us.

The BAS team wanted something that would encourage conversation and open up discussion. Enter DressCode Shirts. BAS were aware of DressCode through the work they had done in the wearable and fintech space with the CashCuff – the World’s first Contactless payment shirt. They spoke with Andy Boothman and the team at DressCode to explore the possibilities of developing a unique shirt with design and payment features. The challenge was how to communicate this data visually? What should be included in the design?

Design and data working hand in hand

Data visualisation has created many beautiful images, these are often intricate, colourful creations that are eye catching and engaging. But how do you translate this into clothing?

“Keep it simple”, said Andy, founder and design director at DressCode Shirts.

This ‘less is more’ approach really connected with the team at BAS.

“We have explored many beautiful data visualisations, they have proved very popular pieces of ‘art’ but we wanted something that we could wear, something that would engage others in a conversation.” said Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley.

The decision was made to showcase the Arctic warming, average temperatures of the Arctic Circle from 1950 to 2019. This was originally visualised by climate scientist Ed Hawkins from Reading University with the striking ‘warming stripes’.

Collaborative design

The DressCode designers have worked closely with the BAS data visualisation team and with Ed Hawkins, exploring surface pattern and how and where data could be expressed within the shirt to allow people to better understand. The end result is stunning, a shirt that demonstrates the data, connects global warming with the increase in CO2 concentrations and symbolically identifies the ozone hole. We call these shirts the ‘climate code’, they are unique to DressCode and will be available for both men and women.

Creating a sustainable product

DressCode is by its own admission, ‘Geeky’, we often use the term GeekLux – championing the inner geek with a luxurious feeling product that celebrates technology both visually in the design and through wearable technology. The DressCode approach to fashion has always been to embrace ‘slow, sustainable fashion’, creating shirts that are hand-made to exacting standards. Shirts that will last a long time, and designs that are timeless.

For this project we are using a fully sustainable, recycled fabric. The printing of which is done digitally, as this reduces the amount of water and heat required to print the designs onto the weave.

“We have looked at every aspect of production and thought about where we can reduce our consumption of resources”, says Boothman, “…things like turning the heat of the finishing unit down during printing, gives us a less ‘polished’ surface on our material, saving energy and creating a unique look and feel that our customers really enjoy wearing”.

Tech for good

The Climate Code shirts will also feature contactless payment technology. DressCode have pioneered wearable payments, working with Digiseq to deliver a highly secure and discreet payment system. The CashCuff offers multi algorithmic security that provides the highest levels of security, as used by global banks.

About DressCode Shirts

The DressCode story starts with a printer glitch. Initial reactions involved swearing but once the red mist subsided, we noticed some really interesting things were happening, yes things had gone wrong, but they’d gone beautifully wrong. We shared our ideas with friends and family who confirmed there was real appeal in the idea. That print glitch inspired the whole DressCode concept, creating stylish shirts for people who love tech in all its many forms. The development of Glitch needed careful consideration and some arm twisting, not least from the printers who were baffled by our files, suggesting there were errors, or viruses, due to the pixelated nature of their output.

Founded by Andy Boothman in 2018, DressCodeShirts Ltd. is a Cambridge, UK company that designs luxurious, high quality shirts that are hand-made by a small team of tailoring experts. Attention to detail is everything, our customers expect the best - the best materials, practices and production when we are creating our shirts. We are very proud of the shirts that we produce, products that will give our customers years of pleasure. DressCode shirts can be purchased online at https://www.dresscodeshirts.co.uk/

Read more about DressCodeShirts on the brandpage: fashionunited.com/companies/dresscode

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