frank's blog

Grow Your Own Clothes – Experiments with Kombucha-Based Material

Posted in art, fashion, food, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on May 11, 2011

Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing. The process is fascinating, the results are beautiful (though there’s still one minor drawback …) and the potential is simply stunning.

Fashion designer Suzanne Lee directs the BioCouture research project, which sprang from an idea in her book Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe, a seminal text on fashion and future technologies. Her research harnesses nature to propose a radical future fashion vision: Can we grow a dress from a vat of liquid?

Using bacterial-cellulose, Lee aims to address pressing ecological and sustainability issues around fashion and beyond. A Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she is working with scientists to investigate whether synthetic biology can engineer optimized organisms for growing future consumer products

“I’m also creating new bacterial-cellulose composite swatches looking at eco-substrates like hemp. This month I’m teaching an exciting project exploring systems and synthetic biology to postgraduate textile and industrial design students alongside eminent scientists from Cambridge University.” Suzanne Lee

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