Good news for eco-conscious fashionistas! The term probably sounds like an oxymoron but with the world’s looming environmental crisis, trendsetters may soon have no choice but to go super organic, or swap haute couture for BioCouture.
Designer and senior research fellow at Central Saint Martins, Suzanne Lee is investigating how to grow a frock. BioCouture is her innovative research project aimed at growing a textile bio-material by uniting textile and fashion design with bio and nanotechnologies to ensure the sustainability of fashion. Lee is working with scientists to produce garments that are grown from bacterial-cellulose, harnessing harmless bacteria to spin and shape cellulose fibres into a textile-like material. The sheet of material is then grown in a sugary green tea solution that will produce a cellulose mat after a couple of weeks.
Once the process is complete the material can be moulded over 3D forms to bond as it dries, or it can be cut and sewn conventionally.The material feels like vegetable leather and is biodegradable. The material can be coloured or printed just like other materials but the methods are more eco-friendly.
Lee’s long-term goal is to directly grow seamless 3D-formed clothes from vats of liquid.