What if your clothes grew themselves in response to your body’s temperature, becoming thicker in areas that needed more insulation and thinner in areas that were warm enough?
Sounds pretty much ideal. No worrying about whether you’re going to need a scarf later in the evening or if a down parka was maybe not the right choice. But what if the clothing in question was made up of bacteria? Specifically, the bacteria on your own skin?
Austrian designer Sonja Bäumel envisioned this most organic of textiles in “Crocheted Membrane,” one in a four-part series of experiments exploring the relationship between the self and the environment. She spent ten days at Wageningen University in the Netherlands learning about microbiology, investigating whether bacteria might interact with textile fibers in a way that could lead to the eventual growth of such clothing. While Bäumel’s concept has “a long way” to go before reaching reality, it’s interesting to think of all the textile waste that could be avoided if it were ever to become de rigueur (the fashion industry, to be sure, might pose some objections).
If nothing else, it could give costume designers on futuristic movie sets a nice alternative to this.
We’ve seen enough of that, already.