Growing your own vegetables is getting more popular, but how about growing your own clothes?
The Britisch fashion designer Suzanne Lee does it and makes clothes grow from micro bacteria, this by mixing sugar water, green tea and a micro-organism that produces cellulose. First you have just some goo but at some point you will see some fabric float, and this will grow bigger and bigger. After a while Suzanne will take it out to turn into a garment. This material feels like vegetable leather and apparently it can be safely composted when you no longer want it. Or when you need to repair it, you put it in the same mix again and the garment restores itself.
Unfortunately, it is not waterproof and it turns back to a big pile of goo as soon as it gets into contact with water. But they’re working on that.
“With so many environmental concerns related to the production, consumption and disposal of fashion textiles BioCouture is pioneering a new eco-friendly and sustainable alternative. The future scale up of this material would also seek to use waste streams, for example from the food or drinks industry, to fuel the microbial-cellulose production.”
The idea that the fabric is “alive” somehow creeps me out a bit. And seen as the fabric isn’t stable in certain circumstances and can’t be produced in high amounts yet, it is still a project that needs some more development. And the fabric isn’t suitable for all types of garments yet.
This would be great for people that want to know exactly where their clothing is coming from (you see that bucket with goo over there?) and it is a sustainable solution to replace cotton, wool and other fabrics that will get more and more expensive, this because of the rising oil prices.