Daily Management Review

How amazing would it be to be able to grow your own wedding dress!!!


Researchers from the University of Western Australia as well as Suzanne Lee of BioCouture, have come up with cutting edge technologies with which you can actually grow your own dress. As incredible as that sounds, scalability and the our lethargic mental attitude towards change and progress are a major stumbling block.

How amazing would it be to be able to grow your own wedding dress!!!
Designers have long been trying to blend the boundaries between fashion and bio-science. Around a decade ago, researchers from the University of Western Australia, had created a living jacket: it was made from living tissues grown out of human and mice cells. Researchers from the same university, again followed up by this development, by creating a garment made out from alcohol : bacteria was introduced in red wine in order to create fibrous cellulose.

Growing a garment, is not a novel concept. Suzanne Lee, founder of BioCouture, is a pioneer in this field. She is a design consultant that works with brands that want to innovate and make use of technology in everyday sportswear and luxury fashion products.

Clearly the technology is in place to create fashionable green garments made out biological materials, but is there any demand for such cutting edge green garments? Biomaterials may be the future of sustainable clothes but people’s mindsets are yet to accept this cutting edge green designs for the fashion industry still wants to hang on to the tried and tested leather and cotton combination as well as its reliance on oil-based polymers such as polyester.

Lee had previously made the case for biomaterials arguing that microbial cellulose would be “a smart and sustainable addition to our increasingly precious natural resources”. What Lee is referring to is the fact that it takes 20,000 litres of water in order to produce just a single pair of jeans and a T-Shirt, whereas in order to brew a biojacket it would take only 60 litres. The comparisons of water utilization has not been cooked up by her, it is as per WWF statistical data.

The advantages of biomaterials are lucid, a number of issues have yet to be ironed out before clothes made out of biomaterials hit the rack. Scalability is the first stumbling block. The current process to create a dress is arduous and very time intensive: it took Lee a whole one week in order to grow her dress. And if one were to follow her DIY recipe, it would take around a month to grow just the material. Naturally the question that the fashion industry is facing, with regard to biomaterials is that how can this process be scaled so as to be economically viable. Lee, has a possible ready solution for it. Bacteria can be rapidly grown on industrial vats of sugar from different streams of wasted food.

A yet another problem is that of acceptability. People’s mindset have yet to take in and accept this novel of clothes made out of bacteria. Recent polls have indicated that people are certainly very uncomfortable with the whole concept.

Their reactions have typically been, how can I put back my dirty clothes after having taken a bath, or a dress made out of bacteria – makes my skin crawl. What is clear is that, in order to have any forward movement in this area, people need to be more open minded, for as a respondent pointed out, that people have no qualms about silk. And silk is nothing but “protein from a worm’s a***”.

Scientifically minded citizens though are the first adopters. Erin Smith, a resident artists at Microsoft Research, was definitely very open towards this new cutting-edge line of clothing.
“I think the ability for us to grow our own clothing could have great positive potential. Growing clothing from scratch could both eliminate carbon emissions caused by transportation and allow for a garment that can be grown to your precise dimensions and specifications,” she said.

In fact she went ahead and brewed her own wedding dress.
“The concept behind a grown wedding dress was to take a one-time-use object and rethink its construction in order to have an appropriate material lifespan. The average cost of a wedding dress in the US is roughly $1,200 (£792) and can contain nearly 12 yards (11m) of fabric. The wedding dress is a perfect example of a one-time-use, energy intensive and entirely non-sustainable model that is representative of so many of the choices that we make daily.”

If her attitudes catches on and becomes mainstream, it will not only bring us closer to the environment and ensure that supply chain in the fashion industry becomes circular, but it will also be telling on how whimsical and needless the patterns of our consumption compulsions are.