Hands up if you rocked the hell out of a Hypercolor shirt in the late '80s! The garment that changed hue with heat was the ultimate in novelty apparel: Advertised as cool club gear upon which hotties could leave cheeky day-glo handprints, in real life the baggy tees performed more like mood rings for armpits.
Well, what has been done will be done again (I’m pretty sure Ecclesiastes was referring to fashion trends there …) and thermochromic dyes are back—this time, below the belt, as part of the spring collection from Quebec-based Naked & Famous. Founder Brandon Svarc has worked hard to bring a bit of levity—high-quality, impeccably crafted levity—to a jeans industry once dominated entirely by shades of blue. "The heart of our brand is the luxury basics, and those basics will always be the best sellers," he tells Co.Design. But that doesn’t preclude some serious experimentation. "If I’m only going to live for 80 or however many years, then how can I not create amazing and strange products that nobody has ever done before?" Fair point, Svarc. Fair point.
My main question for Svarc was perhaps the most obvious. With warmth-activated trousers, isn’t there a major likelihood for embarrassing blotches around your intimate bits? The X-rated mood-ring effect? "They won’t only change colors in the crotch because if your crotch is hot, so are your knees and the rest of you," he assures us. "We have already wear tested it, and it changes all over. If you are outside on a sunny, hot day the entire jean will turn white, then when you step into an air conditioned room, the jeans color will morph back to blue."
As weird and wild as these jeans may be, they’re but one in a series of unique offerings from the brand, which has included everything from scratch-and-sniff to glow-in-the-dark styles. Has there been anything too-too to make the cut? Milk fibers proved prohibitively expensive, and then there was this: "We sampled possum hair denim, but it never made it to the collection," he says. "That idea was pretty odd."
Buy your very own pair of throwback thermochromic denim at Barney’s New York and Barney’s COOP.