“Biocouture is building an open source ‘bioneer’ community of material innovators to catalyze an explosion of product development in this area.
Suzanne Lee makes fabrics using living things. “I am a bio-couturist,” she says. “I bring biological processes together with couture techniques.” The first material she adapted — bacterial cellulose — is made by Gluconacetobacter xylinus; as they ferment glucose, the organisms produce a mat of cellulose on the surface of the liquid. “This material resembles leather,” says Lee. But before commercialising the fabric, she wanted to focus on biomaterials research. “Bacterial cellulose was just one in a spectrum of materials made from micro-organisms, so I started working with other labs.”
The Wearable Futures collection a range of jackets and shoes made from bio-materials produced by bacteria in a vat of liquid to produce bacterial cellulose – a material that has similar properties to leather.
“The recipe that I’ve been exploring to grow a piece of clothing is using a symbiotic mix of yeast and bacteria,” she said. “It’s a fermentation method that grows your bacterial cellulose. It’s kind of like a vegetable leather if you like.”
She adds: “What attracts me to it is that it’s compostable. It’s not just biodegradable, it’s compostable. So you could throw it away like you would your vegetable peelings.” “. (Lee, 2014)
Specific Material Attributes
Founder @ Biofabricate LLC
Founder & CEO @ Biocouture Ltd
Innovator @ Launch Systems Challenge 2013
Images property of the material owners.
-Lee, S., (2014) Biocouture. Retrieved from http://www.launch.org/innovators/suzanne-lee