The human body is made up of trillions of microorganisms. To put this into perspective, they outnumber cells in the body by 10 to 1. Microorganisms have many jobs in the body, from digesting food to boosting the immune system. But now people are using microorganisms to help solve some of the fashion industry’s biggest challenges. They are being harnessed to produce more sustainable products that have less of an impact on the planet.
Every year, around 21 billion pairs of shoes are made globally. Kristal Peters, a sustainable fashion designer, has developed a new shoe called Alice. Alice is made up of many sustainable elements such as sawdust, and is constructed using 3D printing. The shoe also uses fungal mycelium – mycelium is the branchlike, vegetative part of a fungi. These innovative choices are helping to create the shoe of the future.
Leather is a long-lasting and beautiful fabric, but by its basic nature has not been a viable option for vegans. Now, Young-A-Lee, a professor at Iowa State University, has created vleather. Vleather is a vegan leather made from dried kombucha cellulose, the fibrous cells of the fungus. The cellulose is taken from a fermentation process using sugar, vinegar, and yeast. Although the vleather is not ready for the retail market just yet, Lee’s team has receiving a grant to continue their research.
A design firm in Germany has recently discovered that the colours in algae can change how we dye clothing. The project is called Algaemy and involves a machine that harvests algae and applies the dye to fashion designs. The only drawback is that over time the colour will fade as it is a natural dyeing process.
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