10 Eco-Fashion Garments Inspired by Nature and Biomimicry

by , 06/12/12

biomimicry, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, living fashion, living clothing

IMITATING SHARK SKIN TO REDUCE DRAG

Speedo’s Fastskin FSII swimsuit mimics the texture of sharkskin to improve its wearer’s speed while reducing drag. Sharks may appear sleek on the surface, but their skin comprises tiny scales known as dermal denticles (“little skin teeth”) that correspond to varying flow conditions. Rougher dermal denticles, for instance, cover the nose of the animal, while smoother ones amass further back. Furthermore, longitudinal grooves in the scales serve to channel water more efficiently over their surface, enhancing thrust.

Speedo’s Fastskin FSII swimsuit mimics the texture of sharkskin to improve the speed of its wearer.

The swimwear company’s ersatz sharkskin, which premiered at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, still has a ways to go, however. In February, Harvard scientists concluded that the Fastskin’s bumps were too small, rounded, and far apart to have the same effect as denticles, although its skintight form probably enhanced the swimmer’s performance in other ways.

biomimicry, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, living fashion, living clothing

APPLYING COLOR WITHOUT DYES

This dress’s iridescent hue is purely a trick of the light. Fashioned from Morphotex, the frock uses structurally colored to mimic the microscopic structure of the Morpho butterfly’s wings, which appear a shimmery cobalt despite its lack of pigment. Manufactured by Teijin in Japan, Morphotex requires no dyes or pigments, nor the prodigious amount of water and energy used in conventional dyeing.

Inspired by the microscopic structure of the Morpho butterfly’s wings, Morphotex requires no dyes or pigments.

A native of the South America rainforest, the Morpho is one of the largest butterflies in the world, with wings that span five to eight inches. The vivid color on the upper surface of their wings is the result of microscopic, overlapping scales that amplify certain wavelengths of light while canceling out others.

Similarly, Morphotex relies on fiber structure and physical phenomena such as light reflection, interference, refraction, and scattering to produce its opalescence. The fabric comprises roughly 60 polyester and nylon fibers, arranged in alternating layers that can be varied in thickness to produce four basic colors: red, green, blue, and violet.

biomimicry, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, living fashion, living clothing

ATTRACTING POLLINATORS WITH FASHION

To address the shrinking populations of bees and other pollinators, artist Karen Ingham treated a series of “Pollinator Frocks” with a nectar-like sugar solution to attract and nourish insects.

Karen Ingham treated her “Pollinator Frocks with nectar-like sugar solution to attract and nourish bees and their brethren.

Featuring electron-microscopy images of pollen, her wearable gardens fall into two separate categories: day-wear to draw bees and butterflies and evening-wear for nocturnal critters such as moths. Ingham sees her dresses having the most impact in urban spaces, where gardens are limited in number, nectar-rich plants are rare, and public engagement is most needed. “The clothing can be hung out as clothes are hung on a washing line, to act as an attractant to pollinators,” she says.

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11 Responses to “10 Eco-Fashion Garments Inspired by Nature and Biomimicry”

  1. Diane Pham says:

    the shark skin wetsuit is badass!

  2. markboyer says:

    Yeah, that wetsuit is seriously cool.

  3. jillicious says:

    Love the photo examples from nature – it really highlights the idea so well!

  4. Lori Zimmer says:

    Stefanie Nieuwenhuys’ work is so beautiful

  5. Yuka Yoneda says:

    I would LOVE a grass fur vest. Could be a wonderful DIY…

  6. kathryn holmen says:

    I just recently learned about biomimicry in textiles in class. It really intrigues me how nature can inspire certain fashion garments. The swimsuit that resembles shark skin was the most interesting garment I read about. We learned about this in class also. We learned that some Olympic swimmers were using this technology because it made them swim faster. It is also unfair to poorer countries that cannot afford this type of technology though. I would be interested to see how much faster it really does make a swimmer.

  7. jane sarkar says:

    You should read Janine Benyus’ book to start off with, and check out The Biomimicry Institute. Whilst the textile construction of that swimsuit was to imitate the way that water deflected off the scales of the shark, male swimmers in the London Olympics also removed significant areas of their body hair to eliminate drag too – and they also train hard.

  8. m.j.c. says:

    i am doing a school project on biomimicry and nature, and this site is really helping.

  9. jane sarkar says:

    That is excellent. To feel the passion and the common sense, Janine Benyus’ eloquent talk via TED Talks is so inspirational – it may even start to change your life.

    http://blog.ted.com/2009/08/06/biomimicry_in_a/

  10. neymarima (@neymarima) says:

    Hello
    My name is rima and I’m a GCSE textiles student my product is inspired by nature and Specifically “Sea nature” I’m thinking to make an outrageous fashion garment which will be suitable for the next London fashion show, it will be something like jelly fish dress.. Do you have any ideas that can help me with my product? I will really appreaciate it.

    Thank you

  11. jane sarkar says:

    Gosh Nina

    Yes always be totally outrageous. You only live once.

    A jelly fish dress…. jelly fish graceful elegant propellers – if its the mechanistics you are interested in, Hussein Chalayan does it so well- many videos on youtube… If its the soft, slippery yet rubbery material – you should check out what Bompas and Parr does with real jelly – sublime. Good luck :)

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