Design

Our dreams have come true! A design duo is developing a fabric that is blacker than black

Yesterday I wore black. Today I wore black. And tomorrow, yup, I’ll probably wear black. For those of us who have an affinity with the colour black, you’re about to have your mind blown by a brilliant Kickstarter campaign: The Viperblack. This t-shirt is made from material that’s blacker than black.

German designer Phoebe Heess and creative partner Gabriel Platt have launched their t-shirt onto the crowdfunding site, made from fabric that is 40% more black than, well, black. And those of us obsessed with black clothing can’t wait to grab one of these tees.

We sent off a few questions to Phoebe and Gabriel to get the lowdown on this exciting new venture.

Can you both tell us a little about your background ?
Phoebe: In my day job, I am a fashion designer for Adidas. Before this, I worked for Limi Feu in Tokyo and Henry Holland in London.

Gabriel: I am a business consultant for innovation management and worked for some years as the Head of Digital at Vice Berlin. We have a three-year-old son and if you want to put it that way, a second baby with our own hi-tech fashion brand.

What prompted you to create a ‘blacker than black’ t-shirt?
Phoebe: As an artist, there are different creative approaches to a subject. For example, reduction, abstraction, combination and exaggeration. So black being our subject, it just clicked when we saw an article about Vantablack, an ultra black material, made from nano-carbontubes.

Gabriel: We also constantly saw this meme of Wednesday Addams popping up, where she says ‘I will stop wearing black, when they invent a darker color’. In combination, this convinced us to go for it.

What kind of research went into the design of the Viperblack tee? What material is it made from?
Phoebe: We work with a Swiss tech supplier, who told us using nano-carbontubes would impose a health risk. So they looked into nature and found an organism who is able to ‘wear’ an ultrablack color. The rest goes by the beautiful expression biomimetics, which means reconstructing nature’s best practices, in this case using a specially treated cotton.

You took the Viperblack t-shirt to Kickstarter, how’s that going?
Gabriel: It’s the first time we use crowdfunding, but we thought it’s such a fascinating idea, it would be great to let people participate in the process. We have already learnt a lot, like people told us we need to be more emotional and super happy. But then, we are a German all-black tech fashion company, what do you expect? (laughs)

What’s next for Viperblack and the Phoebe Heess label in general?
Phoebe: Following up on feedback we got, we’ll probably add some other styles after the crowdfunding, like a hoodie or a little black dress (girls can already order a xxl and wear it like a boyfriend tee dress now). We also have a wearables project near completion and we are looking for possibilities to show our new collection in Paris in January. But I am pretty sure this will be something very different from a catwalk show.

Love black? Be sure to support the Viperblack tee on Kickstarter. Pledges start as low as US$78 for a blacker-than-black tee. You better believe we’re getting one!

Blacker than black t-shirt
Blacker than black t-shirt
Blacker than black t-shirt

About the author

Rachel Oakley is an Aussie writer based in NYC with an obsession for the creepy, cool and quirky side of life. Some of her main passions include philosophy, art, travel, and sarcasm.

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