When you think of camouflage, you instantly think of invisibility. But many creatures in nature use camouflage to become highly visible, in order to distract predators or communicate information. That’s the idea behind Vollebak’s new shell jacket.
The Black Squid Jacket is a fully waterproof and windproof outer shell that mimics the adaptive camouflage of a squid. Over the last 500 million years squid have evolved the ability to change their color and appearance at high speed and with almost infinite variety to hide, attack, or communicate.
Volleback replicated elements of this biological survival mechanism using lasers, resin, and over 2 billion microscopic glass spheres. The glass spheres are embedded in resin on the jacket’s surface with over 40,000 in every single square centimetre. These are invisible to the naked eye but when light hits the jacket, it travels through the curved surface of these black glass spheres and strikes the back of them, before being reflected back at the original light source and scattered away from it simultaneously, so that the fabric looks like it’s emitting light.
As a result, the jacket acts like a mirror for whatever light conditions you expose it to. When you’re inside or in subdued light conditions during the day, the jacket is a dull metallic black. As you move around, you’ll see flashes of colour in the surface just like you’d find in a pool of oil or sheet of metal.
When exposed to bright light, the jacket instantly reflects every color in the visible spectrum, creating pools of vivid color that make it look liquid. If you’re out on the slopes in the sun, as color shifts rapidly across the jacket, the entire surface appears to warp, creating patterns that mess with your head — great if you are trying to be seen on the mountain.
The Black Squid Jacket retails for $995 and is available now from the Vollebak website.