The Sceptical Chymist | Fashion

Published in Chemistry

While standing on the tube platform this morning (trying to ignore the general unpleasantness associated with London’s public transport system), an advert caught my eye. It featured a model wearing a T-shirt with a periodic table on it. For a brief moment, I was overcome with the notion that chemistry had become fashionable, possibly even sexy.

Further evidence of the chemistry-fashion interface is, admittedly, rather scarce. A few years ago, a manufacturer of safety glasses came up with a new streamlined design, incorporating brightly coloured arms and so on. I thought this was pretty ridiculous – it’s very difficult to make safety equipment look trendy. But they went down a storm with my colleagues. I was even criticised during a safety inspection for not wearing the ‘cool’ version of the safety specs (and not for safety reasons – this is not a joke…)

Other than that, my university’s chemistry society had a few rather sad T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Chemists have solutions” and “Tickle a chemist and see the reaction”. But who knows? Maybe chemical elements could become the new iconic brands? Fashionistas wearing ‘Sb’ logos could look down on their less up-to-date friends, who are still wearing last year’s ‘Cs’ jeans. Where would it all end? Any other ideas?


Andrew Mitchinson (Associate Editor, Nature)

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