Whatever happened to Hypercolor T-shirts?

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Publish Date
Thursday, 13 April 2017, 3:11PM

If you were a child of the 90s, you will remember the ultimate must-have clothing item: The hypercolor T-shirt.

It was, like, totally radical.

While you were probably more concerned about whether said T-shirt matched your scrunchie and slouch socks (essential), there was actually some pretty serious science behind the fashion revolution.

The T-shirts contained a special type of pigment made by a Japanese chemical company: thermochromic pigment.

At low temperatures, the pigment is a solid. But as heat is applied, it melts, becoming colourless - resulting in the seemingly magical transformation of your T-shirt from pink to blue (or the colour combo of your choice).

It was science in action - but made laundry a nightmare. Not that we cared, that was Mum's problem (...soz Mum!).

Hypercolor T-shirts were a fashion must-have in 1991.

It was also a bit of a letdown if you lived in a subtropical climate, where the ambient temperature sat above 24 degrees.

Such was the success of the range, Generra Sportswear Co. (which made the T-shirts) sold $50 million worth of clothing in 1991 alone.

But it wasn't to last. Overwhelmed by the success of their must-have product, Generra went bankrupt just a year later.

Attempts to revive the fad met with only lukewarm success, which just wasn't enough to light this trend up again.