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Climate Code shirt launch with British Antarctic Survey has that snap, crackle, pop factor...



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A dramatic demonstration of how global warming works took place at Cambridge Cleantech’s tenth anniversary day at the Bradfield Centre.

Climate Code shirt cuff reveals CO2 and temperature data for the last 800,000 years – as well as containing the CashCuff payment chip. Picture: Ian Olsson Photography
Climate Code shirt cuff reveals CO2 and temperature data for the last 800,000 years – as well as containing the CashCuff payment chip. Picture: Ian Olsson Photography

Among the activities at the event was a combined launch by Cambridge-based SME DressCode Shirts and British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the national polar research institute based on Madingley Road.

The launch event – ‘Frozen in Time: Climate Change Challenge’ – was a first reveal of the new Climate Code shirt, shown to the public for the first time at the Bradfield Centre cased in ice, which thawed during the day, “symbolising the retreat of glaciers and sea ice and our warming climate”.

BAS has been working with DressCode Shirts since 2020 to explore how clothing could communicate the science of climate change: the talks produced the Climate Code shirt. It features warming stripes, created by Professor Ed Hawkins of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, representing the last 70 years of Arctic temperature and CO2 records.

The presenters at the event were DressCode Shirts founder Andy Boothman and Pilvi Muschitiello, BAS impact facilitator. She said: “We want to develop new dialogues and engage people in environmental science. Many people struggle to connect with the science behind climate change and what this means for individuals – this was the catalyst for a unique collaboration.

‘Climate Code’ is the result of our combined passions for the planet, data, tech and clothing.”

Andy Boothman, founder of DressCode Shirts, and Pilvi Muschitiello, impact facilitator at British Antarctic Survey. Picture: Keith Heppell
Andy Boothman, founder of DressCode Shirts, and Pilvi Muschitiello, impact facilitator at British Antarctic Survey. Picture: Keith Heppell

Andy added that the representation of temperature and data for CO2 levels – recorded in 40,000-year intervals on the inside cuff of the Climate Code shirt – in the last 800,000 years was quite a talking point.

“We had conversations around how do you engage people with the vast amount of data,” Andy said of the collaboration with BAS, “so this is something you can interact with, and the conversations become much more meaningful and richer, and that’s what it’s all about – coming together to share ideas.”

The stand also had an intriguing sample of 40,000-year-old ice, as Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, director of innovation and impact at the BAS, explains: “The shirt itself was frozen in normal tap water, then transported to the venue in a freezer bag, all on a bike for low carbon impact. We also brought ice core chippings from the Antarctic – left-overs from our ongoing ice core research – along in a separate container for people to hear the ancient gasses escaping as the ice melts in their hands.”

The launch was described by Beatrix as “a great buzz”.

I was lucky enough to be handed a small block of ice, and invited to rub it and put the ice to my ear at the same time. By rubbing the ice, it melts, and there’s an amazing moment where you hear the gases trapped 40,000 years ago in the Antarctic tundra escaping into your ear. It’s slightly eerie to be honest. The nearest thing I can liken it to is that moment you pour milk over your Rice Krispies... snap, crackle, pop.

The Climate Code shirt comes in four sizes for men and four for women, and costs £125 (£160 if CashCuff-enabled). It’s available online only.

Andy said of the incoming crisis: “The climate of the earth and what we do to it over the coming years is pivotal to everybody’s way of life. This is a global challenge and we all have a part to play.

The Climate Code shirt is produced in conjunction with British Antarctic Survey. Picture: Ian Olsson Photography
The Climate Code shirt is produced in conjunction with British Antarctic Survey. Picture: Ian Olsson Photography

“The DressCode approach to fashion is to embrace ‘slow, sustainable fashion’. Our shirts will last a long time, with designs that are timeless. For this project we are using Tencel, a sustainable plant based fabric. The printing of which is done digitally, to reduce the amount of water and heat required to print the designs onto the weave.”

Martin Garratt, CEO of Cambridge Cleantech, said: “After 10 years working on getting climate tech on the agenda, it was heartening to see the response at our two-day conference.

“We had 300-plus attendees across both days and it was lovely to meet some of the people who have been with us throughout this journey in person.

“There has never been a more urgent time to support the cleantech industry and we hope to continue to play a pivotal role in bringing cleantech founders, academicians, industry leaders and investors together in making this change happen.”



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