A Growing Closet
By Ai Harimoto
Fashion is such a dynamic part of human behavior. Whether it’s because of evolving trends, cultural demands, or simply boredom, our closets constantly change. However, growth comes with disposal. And in a world of consumption dominated by billions of people, there’s a lot of discarded clothing that will take a long time to go away. So how do we satisfy our craving for something different?
The answer: grow it.
Maybe clothes aren't the first thing you think of when you hear the word mushrooms. But check out this beautiful design made by Aniela Hoitink, a dress made entirely of the mycelium from a fungi favorite! Through her research with textiles, Hoitink figured out how to use the natural soft texture of mycelium to create Mycotex, a material that grows and dies with all its natural fungal properties intact. If there's a way to get fashion into the circle of life, mycelium is definitely a leap in the right direction!
If we're talking about things that are hard to imagine as potential fabric, look no further than coconuts! Surprisingly or not, these tough round balls of sweet goodness have been used to make fabric for a number of years, under the technologically savvy Dr. Gregory Haggquist and his team at 37.5. Cocona, their trademark brainchild, is the stuff to turn to when you want to stay dry and temperature-regulated, no matter where you are or what you're doing.
Other fruits that are making a name in the fashion industry are bananas and pineapples. For all things fine and slippery, bananas are a great alternative to silk. Want something tougher for some nice accessories? Bananas have that too! Harkiss Designs uses banana fabric for an assortment of bags and baskets that might call out to your nature aesthetic so definitely check them out.
As for pineapples, keep an eye on Carmen Hijosa and all the cool things she's doing with her brand, Ananas Anam. She's got the super nifty Piñatex which will take leather tanning to a whole new level, minus the gross stuff like petroleum. Just take a look at the gorgeous designs coming from Alexandra K as she rocks the world of handbags with this vegan leather!
Last but not least is an intermediary between land and sea: seaweed. Seacellis a fabric that combines a manufactured Lyocell fiber with seaweed and comes with a hoard of possibilities and health benefits. Designer Christine Zillich created a bit of a stir in 2012 with a collection made from Seacell fabric and we're hoping that others will find some inspiration now that we're bringing this super neat textile back to the surface!
There's a plethora of possibilities for fashion textiles that we've barely begun to discover. Now that you've seen a bit of what the industry might have in store for us, what do you plan to grow in your closet?