Coperni unveils Air Swipe bag made of 99 per cent air

Greek researcher Ioannis Michaloudis has created the Air Swipe bag for fashion brand Coperni using NASA-produced silica aerogel that was developed to “catch stardust”.

The lightweight bag was unveiled at Coperni’s F/W 2024 runway show during Paris Fashion Week.

The small bag is made from silica aerogel, which Michaloudis said is the “lightest sold [material] on planet Earth”. The material – which has a chemical composition similar to gas – forms the shell of the bag, while the interior is air.

Coperni bag with keys inside of itCoperni bag with keys inside of it
Coperni has released a bag made of 99 per cent air

This means that the total volume of the bag consists only of one per cent solid material.

The Air Swipe bag has a dimension of 27 by 16 by 6 centimetres and weighs 35 grams.

It is formed in a stainless steel mould with a “supercritical” drying process, which uses specific temperatures and pressures to transform liquids into glass.

Coperni Airswipe bag in foam caseCoperni Airswipe bag in foam case
It was created by the researcher using a NASA-produced material called silica aerogel

Michaloudis said that the bag is delicate but not fragile and that the material can handle pressure of 4,000 times its weight and heat up to 1,200 degrees Celsius. Silica aerogel’s properties were first developed by scientist Peter Tsou.

“It can withstand three times the speed of a bullet,” Michaloudis told Dezeen.

“And that’s why [NASA] has selected the material to catch stardust,” he continued, referring to the cells attached to deep-space satellites for collecting high-speed space materials.

Silica aerogal handbagSilica aerogal handbag
It can withstand large amounts of force and heat

The light-blue colour of the material comes from the “nanopores” on its surface, which Michaloudis compared to the sky of the planet.

“It is very ethereal, but it protects our planet,” he said.

“It is our dress. The dress of the planet is our sky,” he continued, linking the atmosphere with the material’s use as a fashion accessory.

Michaloudis has worked with NASA for decades on a variety of projects and was on the team researching the material and its applications.

The Air Swipe bag and material represent an “in-between space” between science and art, the researcher added.

Coperni aerogel bag with modelCoperni aerogel bag with model
Its colour comes from light refracting through its “nanopores”

“The material is between something that does and something that does not exist. It too is in this in-between state, like an angelic state,” he said. “This is the in-between space of the Coperni bag.”

Michaloudis works as a researcher for several institutions in Greece and abroad and worked with Coperni to conceptualise the bag.

Coperni has released a number of clothing items and accessories that use advanced technology, including a dress created with spray-on fibers.

This Paris Fashion Week also saw Danish brand Samsoe Samsoe host a pop-up space with a counter made from old T-shirts.

The photography is courtesy of Ioannis Michaloudis.

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