12 October, 2021 News stories

A dramatic art installation symbolising our warming climate will be launched at the Cambridge Cleantech annual conference on 20 October as the city’s innovators and scientists gather together to brainstorm how technology could reduce our carbon emissions.

The Cleantech Futures: Exploring a decade of cleantech innovation conference marks the tenth anniversary of Cambridge Cleantech and looks at how far we have come and what still needs to be done in the coming decade to ensure we achieve the 1.5°C target. One of the highlights of the event will be an art installation symbolising our warming climate from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and local Cambridge small business DressCode Shirts.

On the eve of the COP 26 conference in Glasgow this November, a unique shirt with a special climate change message will be revealed at the event, as it melts from a block of ice symbolising the retreat of glaciers and sea ice and our warming climate. British Antarctic Survey, Professor Ed Hawkins from Reading University and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and Dresscode Shirts have worked together to design the shirt to promote the science behind climate change.

Photo of a man wearing a Climate Code shirt
Andy Boothman, founder of Dresscode Shirts, wearing the ‘Climate Code’ shirt at BAS Cambridge

The ‘shirt reveal’ will be shared throughout the day on social media and members of the public will be able to watch the thaw and see the new shirt as it becomes more visible. It will be on display at the Bradfield Centre on the evening of the 20 October during Cambridge Cleantech’s tenth anniversary celebrations.

BAS have been working with DressCode Shirts since 2020 to explore how clothing could communicate the science of climate change and developed a ‘Climate Code’ shirt. It features warming stripes (created by Professor Hawkins) representing the last 70 years of temperature records from the Arctic and providing the backdrop of 800,000 years of Antarctic temperature and carbon emissions data.

The innovative design of the shirt brings together the dynamic story of the past and the worrying trends of the present in a novel visualisation which aims to inspire climate action.

Pilvi Muschitiello, Impact Facilitator at British Antarctic Survey:

“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.”

Martin Garratt, CEO of Cambridge Cleantech, said: 

“When Cambridge Cleantech launched in 2011, climate change was nowhere near as prominent in the world as it is today. In the last decade, we have seen climate tech move to the forefront of solutions needed to combat the climate crisis. Governments across the world, including the UK, have adopted green growth as the key goal for the next decade. At our conference this month we will look at some of the most exciting climate tech innovations to come out of Cambridge in the last decade and the impact they have made.”

Andy Boothman, founder of DressCode Shirts, said:

“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 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.”

The Cleantech Futures conference will take on Wednesday 20 October online and in person at The Bradfield Centre in Cambridge. The thawing of the shirt will take place that evening during a private view for attendees of the conference. Watch the thawing live on Twitter throughout the day @dresscodeshirts.