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

GROWING GARMENTS FROM MICROBES

Suzanne Lee grows her own “biocouture” from vats of green tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Lee, a senior research fellow at the School of Fashion & Textiles at Central Saint Martins in London coaxes fibers from this microbial soup, coalescing thin, wet sheets of bacterial cellulose that can be molded to a dress form.

Suzanne Lee grows her own “biocouture” from vats of green tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast.

As the sheets dry out, overlapping edges “felt” together to become fused seams. When all moisture has evaporated, the fibers develop a tight-knit, papyrus-like surface that can be bleached or stained with fruit and vegetable dyes such as turmeric, indigo, and beetroot.

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

OUTERWEAR THAT TRANSPIRES LIKE TREES

Páramo’s waterproof jackets feature fabric technology inspired by the transpiration activity of trees. The process is akin to evaporation: pore-like openings in plant foliage, collectively known as stomata, open and close to release water vapor into the air. The water loss allows the plant to access carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, as well as to cool itself when the mercury rises.

Páramo’s line o outerwear features fabric technology inspired by the transpiration activity of trees.

Unlike conventional mineral wax, the company’s Nikwax treatment leaves spaces between the fibers elastic, open, and breathable. Besides providing water-repellency, the elastomer also traps air next to the skin, directing moisture away from the body and preventing external moisture from entering.

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

“SHEDDABLE” GARMENTS THAT REDUCE LAUNDERING

Katie Ledger wants you to make like a serpent and molt—the layers of your clothes, that is. Inspired by the way a snake sheds its skin, the London College of Art student envisions garments with layers that slough off without the need for frequent laundering.

“Shed Me” garments slough off their layers like a snake, reducing the need for frequent laundering.

In addition to slashing the heavy energy burden that washing and drying entail—an average laundry cycle uses up to 40 gallons of water and 5,500 watts of electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy—Ledger’s “Shed Me” project imagines clothes that change color and even style with the removal of each successive layer.

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

CRADLE-TO-CRADLE CLOTHING

Zoe Alexander Fisher designed a hand-felted wool coat during her sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College. Worn in winter, the garment can be disposed of by planting it in the spring. The wool acts as a fertilizer for the embedded seeds, which grow into food-producing plants throughout the summer in time for a fall harvest.

Zoe Alexander Fisher’s seed-embedded coat is worn in winter, planted in spring, grown in summer, and harvested in winter.

“From production to disposal, the product remains a part of the environment,” Fisher says. “By biomimicking nature’s seasons, it [serves to] draw attention to our human relationship and commitment to the natural environment.”

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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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