You’ve probably heard of kombucha tea — that bubbly, fermented, sorta vingeary drink lining the shelves of your health food store. But did you know it can make clothes?
If you’re science-loving fashion designer Suzanne Lee, you know. She coaxes the bacteria in the drink to expel a material for designing clothes.
How? "Tea, sugar, a few microbes and a little time," she says in her talk at TED2011. “I’m essentially using a kombucha recipe,” she says, “which is a symbiotic mix of bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms, which spin cellulose in a fermentation process. Over time, these tiny threads form in the liquid into layers and produce a mat on the surface.” Watch the whole talk here»
Above, some of Suzanne’s creations made from her kombucha-based material as part of the BioCouture research project.
And for a super cool complement to this talk, check out this talk from TEDxVienna about fabric … you spray on.
(All photos Suzanne Lee & BioCouture)