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Do You Remember: HyperColor Shirts

Once upon a time, we saw the future, and it changed color with heat!

Really, you practically couldn’t afford not to buy a HyperColor shirt. I mean, it changed color, right? That was like getting two shirts for the price of one. So that price tag you saw? Remember, that was 50% off what it should have cost you. You should probably buy two then, since you’re such a great bargain shopper. 

What wasn’t to love about HyperColor shirts? Well, a few things, but we’ll get to those later. For now, let’s talk about how rad they were. Introduced by Generra at the tail end of those color-crazy 80’s, HyperColor promised a t-shirt revolution. A patented “Metamorphic Color System” caused the shirt’s color to change when it came in contact with heat. Press a warm hand onto your belly, and your purple shirt would have a temporary pink handprint. How cool was that? 

Body heat, hot breath, blow dryers… any heat source was enough to change green to yellow, blue to green, and so on. It was like a Mood Ring for the body, and matched up with acid wash jeans, it made you one of the coolest kids in your school!  Or maybe not judging by my experiences :-(.  These kids below know what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately (and here’s the “what’s not to love” part), there were some drawbacks. Like the fact that wearing a HyperColor shirt seemed to give everybody the right to put their sweaty palms all over you or breathe on you. Or the way your shirt reacted to all heat, including the kind produced by your armpits (no volunteering to answer questions in class on HyperColor t-shirt day). Suddenly, the idea of a heat-sensitive shirt just wasn’t all you had dreamed it would be. 

The HyperColor craze faded like a bad tie-dye by the early 90’s, and Generra had to lay off one-fourth of its staff by the spring of ’92. Apparently, the world just wasn’t ready for odd-colored sweat spots and rampant personal space invasion, even for the sake of a chameleon fashion statement. 

For me, I thought wearing one of these would be awesome.  But the truth was, I was still a nerd but in a cool shirt.  No one wanted to touch it, which defeated my plans of getting touchy feely with girls in school.  I guess it was a cool concept in theory, but didn't translate too well in execution.  But still, I at least have fond memories of waiting anxiously to get my hands on one when the marketing buzz kicked in.

Did you have HyperColor clothing?  Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.

Mickey Yarber is a freelance writer and lover of all things fun from our childhoods.  He has a blog where he shares childhood memories of tv shows, toys, movies, games, cartoons, food, school days, and a host of other things.  Stop by and check him out at:

And be sure to follow me on Twitter at @yesterdayville for constant retro goodness!

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onipar Posted on Aug 07, 2015 at 06:31 PM

Oh yeah, those winter gloves! I loved hypercolor AND the gloves. It was brilliant. I think I was still young enough that sweaty pits didn't bother me much :-)

Vaporman87 Posted on Aug 07, 2015 at 03:31 PM

HyperColor was cool, but in my youth it couldn't compete with the gloves that you wore during winter that had images appear/disappear on them. Still, they had their fifteen minutes of fame, and I was there to revel in it.

Good thing they didn't invent pants that did the same. High school would have been even more awkward than it already was for us all. LOL

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