2 Jul: Death of Hypercolor

Generra Sportswear, the Seattle-based company that distributed Hypercolor – the T-shirts that changed colour with heat – and declared bankruptcy on 2nd July, 1992.

In a brief three-month span, between February and May 1991, the company sold a whopping $50 million worth of heat-sensitive T-shirts, shorts, pants, sweatshirts and tights, using the ‘Global Hypercolor’ brand in the UK. However, they struggled to meet the overwhelming demand for their products and as a result of mismanagement and overproduction, couldn’t handle their overnight success.

In this episode, The Retrospectors explain how sex was used to sell its products Down Under; consider why the product was a let-down if you lived in a sub-tropical climate, and ponder whether mood rings became ‘the acceptable face of colour-changing’…

Further Reading:

• ‘Why Hypercolor T-Shirts Were Just a One-Hit Wonder’ (Smithsonian Magazine, 2013): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/why-hypercolor-t-shirts-were-just-a-one-hit-wonder-3353436/

• ‘Generra: Hot Start, Then Cold Reality — Company Reflects Industry’s Woes’ (The Seattle Times, 1992): https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19920703&slug=1500288

• ‘Generra Hyper Color Shirts – Heat Makes It Happen’ (TV Commercial, 1992): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXgLR55tx3Y

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