Cass and his colleagues culture the Acetobacter in vats of red wine—”cheap Aussie ‘goon’ wine, not the good stuff that is kept for us,” he says—but any kind of vino is copacetic. The fabric takes on the color of its feedstock: red for red wine, translucent for white wine or beer.
The bacteria ferments the alcohol into a raft of microbial fibrils that float just above the surface.
The bacteria ferments the alcohol into a raft of microbial fibrils that float just above the surface. Once extracted, the two-dimensional sheets are fashioned into clothing or fitted seamlessly on a person’s body to create a second skin. But the boozy textile isn’t just a conversation starter. Cass is researching Microb’be’s potential as medical dressing or scaffolds for tissue engineering .
“Fermented fashion doesn’t need to stay within the fashion world but can inspire new thoughts in many other disciplines, such as medicine, engineering, dentistry, architecture,” he says. “All one has to do is let their imagination, creativity, and ingenuity loose.”
We’ll drink to that.