Kazuya Kawasaki on biohacking the fashion industry

Speculative designer and Keio University student Kazuya Kawasaki grows new materials for the fashion industry.

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A student in Keio University’s SFC X design programme, Kazuya Kawasaki’s work centres around the development of new materials for the manufacture of garments. In a DIY biohacking approach, Kawasaki created a strong textile with nothing but a children’s pool and a cocktail of organisms.

Inspired by an article about biohacking, a social movement led by amateur biologists, Kawasaki realised he too could pursue his research into bio activism in his own backyard.

“Since reading this, I’ve started to imagine how the biological revolution influences the fashion industry,” Kawasaki tells the Design Indaba Conference 2016 audience. “What if fashion designers could grow their own materials or material firms replaced bio laboratories?”

As part of his graduate project, Kawasaki established his own laboratory at home. In his DIY-bio lab, which was essentially a kiddy pool in a garage, Kawasaki grew his own material.

“I believe that fashion can imagine and question the future just like science fiction,” says Kawasaki. “I believe that fashion can break down social issues in a way that makes it accessible to society.”