Lauren Bowker describes herself a materials alchemist. After developing a pollution sensing compound while studying at Manchester School of Art, she went on to study textiles at the Royal College of Art in London and created a series of inks which change colour in response to heat, light, wind and environmental changes.
In 2014 – after consulting with aeronautics, automotive and fashion brands keen to use her technology – Bowker launched The Unseen, a studio which uses science, technology and old-fashioned craft to create wearable products that visualise what we can’t see. Items created so far include a jewelled headpiece for Swarovski that can visualise its wearer’s brain activity and a garment that changes colour to reflect emotions such as fear and excitement.
Bowker has also launched a range of colour-changing accessories for Selfridges and hopes to eventually create products that can help people – for example, items that can monitor stress, anxiety and pain in patients.
“I want The Unseen to be an exploration house, pushing what we can do with material, and creating beautiful pieces that inspire people. Behind that will be The Unseen of The Unseen, licensing our technology to healthcare, architecture, interiors and fashion,” she told CR.