I don’t usually like to post links from BoingBoing because I imagine everyone has already seen this already, but as it is about some of my favorite things (synthetic biology, biomaterials, and fashion) I couldn’t resist!
Designer Suzanne Lee makes clothes using cellulose-based fabrics made entirely by cultures of yeast and bacteria. From what I could understand from the ecouterre article, the process is similar to how kombucha is made, using the microbes to ferment a green tea mixture, although I thought that the film that forms on top of the fermenting tea in kombucha is some sort of yeast/bacteria symbiotic biofilm, not cellulose (if anyone knows more about how this works please add more info in the comments!).
I love how this project highlights the biological source of all (natural) fabrics and the issues surrounding the sustainability of the production of said fabrics. The translucence and brittleness of the material makes the clothes look weirdly skin-like, and I wonder how synthetic biology could be used to make different kinds of microbial fabrics with different, more fabric-like properties. What will the fabrics of the future be made out of? How can we make our clothing sturdy and attractive as well as sustainable and ethical?