Scientists are able to grow fabrics from thin air in their laboratory!
As sustainable fashion has become a sore subject in the fashion industry during the past few years. Today, we all know about the ethical and ecological woes associated with, the exploitation of animals and humans related to the production of unsustainable materials such as, leather, fur and polyester and other synthetics fabrics. Nevertheless, the enormous carbon footprints cannot be blamed entirely on the fast-fashion. This is because, the majority of the supply chain carbon emission occur while processing raw materials. So, what happen if we switch to biofabrics?
Firstly, biofabrics/bio-textiles are, any synthetic fabrics made from a renewable plant source rather than from petroleum, like leather that were made from mushroom, bioengineered silk (man-made spider silk) or natural wool blended. Scientists use these biotechnological innovations to develop a better materials for a better world. These scientists were able to create a material that is 100% sustainable. For instance, Bolt Threads, a bioengineering start-up company were able to create, ‘Microsilk’ which is a man-made protein-based spider silk inspired from natural silks and recreated by putting genes into yeast. The protein is produced in a large quantities via fermentation solutions, using yeast, sugar and water before being wet-spun into fibres and finally knit into silk. As you can see the processes of making these biofabrics do not include any carbon emission or exploitation of our nature.
Growing fabrics in the lab/at your home, is this for real?
The answer is a big “YES”. Scientists are able to grow fabrics from thin air in their laboratory and the good news is you can do it too! Scientists are able to create a piece of alive fabrics using fermentation solutions. They are using micro-organism like bacteria and yeasts to grow into textile and fibre, these processes could happen in liquid form, therefore they do not need a field to do it! The
The future of fashion industry:
It is obvious that, we as a consumer should be responsible for the impacts on environment due to our consumption behaviours. Obviously, it would be great if we could track down allt he production processes of a product before purchase just to make sure it is not harmful to the environment, but in reality that is kind of impossible. If you are working in the fashion industry I believe you definitely experience changes in trends all the time. However, these days, a great number of consumers do not only give interest to just the designs or the brand, they also place an important consideration on ethical and ecological values of a goods they are buying, especially those younger generation customers.
It can also be seen clearly that many high-end fashion brands start to adopt social and environmental issues into their branding and marketing strategies, in order to attract younger generation customers. Due to this major change in consumer behaviour, brands are trying to be more responsible and more transparent with their production processes. We can also see that many fashion brands have work closely with scientist and technologist to invent new form of materials, that are sustainable.
For instance, Bolt treads has partnership with Stella McCartney to create biomaterials, ‘Mylo’, It was created from mycelium and were used to made Stella McCartney’s iconic Falabella bag. Mycelium is comprised with millions and billions of cells which form a 3D mesh on a micro-scale. It also forms massive network of threads that help recycle organic matters on the natural ground, while providing nutrients to plants. It is vital to our
ecosystem and infinitely renewable, which makes it ideal ingredient for an innovative material like, ‘Mylo’. The final touch of Mylo material developed by Bolt Threads gives the looks and feels like-hand-crafted leather, it has a supple natural feel and every sheet yields unique variations in thickness, making each product become one-of-a-kind luxury goods.
Other innovative example we can see in the design industry could be, using waste crops like, carrots and turning them into organic carbon fibre material and create a tough product like skateboard, or turning silk into liquid in order to put it in a 3D printer and create an object, like glasses.
I believe that in the future most of consumer goods, including our garments will be created from bio-materials. In 50-year-time we might be wearing a jacket that is 100% composable and naturally bio-degradable made from yeast, so that our garment is alive hence we are able to grow it into different shapes or throw it away in a pile of vegetables. Who know we are so close to wearing a living garment in the short future!