Suzanne Lee is out to infect the fashion world with an idea that’s been brewing for a while — in a vat of bacteria, that is.
A Senior Research Fellow in the School of Fashion and Textiles in London, Lee is turning tubs of overly sweet green tea, microbes, and yeast into jackets, shirts, and dresses. It’s called Biocouture and it’s the ultimate in disposable fashion. Once you’ve worn out these threads, you can toss them in the compost bin, avoiding most of the waste usually involved in manufacturing something to put around your waist.
How does a sundress come out of a tub of bacterial tea? A little bit of the bubbly — fermentation, not champagne — creates fibers of bacterial cellulose, which can be molded and dried into clothing form and colored with natural dyes like indigo and beetroot. The textures can feel like either papyrus or “vegetable leather,” something that conjures mental images of wearing a fruit roll-up. But I have faith that flaunting this faux-fiber fashion is (or will be) probably a lot more pleasant. With the added bonus of also looking quite cultured.
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