I’m all for technological advances in fabric and fashion. In fact, I did a whole radio show around technology and fashion a few weeks ago (listen here), but a dress made of wine…I don’t know.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia have just discovered how to turn this beverage into clothing. Hmmm, Western Australia? I figured they’d sooner discover how to turn a can of Foster’s into clothing. I can hear the tagline now, “Foster’s…Australian for weird clothing, mate.”
The fabric was discovered by the scientists, Gary Cass, who noticed the skin-like rubbery layer covering a vat of wine that was contaminated with Acetobacter bacteria. Together with artist Donna Franklin, he used the bacteria to transform it into a cellulose fabric by pouring and wrapping it against a mold or human body. Funny, as many times as I’ve seen that weird skin on a fresh batch of Jell-o I’ve never thought, “Hmm, I wonder if I can make this into fabric.” The outcome was seamless fabric called micro’be’ since it is made from living microbes. Cass and Franklin went on to create fermented fashion out of red wine, white wine and beers like Guinness (again, where is the Foster’s???), all which retain their natural odor and color. Odor? Wait a minute? Why would I want my clothes to smell like the fuzzy night of a bar crawl gone wrong?
As with any new innovation, the fabric has some flaws which make the fabric highly unwearable. The fabric has zero flexibility which makes it impossible to take the clothes off and, no surprise, wearers aren’t thrilled by the idea of smelling like a homeless wino in serious need of an intervention. Efforts are being made to address these issues along with the fact that the clothing doesn’t look all that flattering…unless you want to look like you are wearing your muscles on the outside of your body. Yet, the garments require no sewing which means less labor and lower production costs. Micro’be’ is also organic and biodegradable. I just wonder if that is enough to get people to wear clothes made from alcoholic beverages.
Photos courtesy of BioAlloy.org