The “Beer Dress” is more than a homage to Australia’s favorite pint. Created by Nanollose, the same Perth-based firm that transformed red wine into clothing, the frock comprises little more than lager, fermented using living bacteria. Unlike its vino-derived forebears, which carried with them a whiff of a hangover, the Beer Dress has no smell, according to Nanollose director Gary Cass, who worked with designer Donna Franklin on the concept. It also has greater flexibility, with fibers that are chemically similar to cotton, he adds. The garment will go on display as part of the “Textifood” exhibit at the 2015 World Expo in Milan this summer. “This seemed appropriate as Australia is well-known to be a country of beer drinkers,” Cass tells Ecouterre.
But the Beer Dress is more than a novelty, Cass says. Because the cellulosic fibers are created through fermentation, they can be produced on an industrial scale without many of the environmental costs of cotton. “Moreover, it can be ‘grown into any shape,’ enabling one-piece seamless garments with no stitching, a valuable innovation to the fashion industry,” he says.
As an example of Down Under ingenuity, Cass says he hopes his material will find a home in Australia’s $330 million textile-manufacturing industry.
“We are very confident that the Beer Dress with its new improved material is showing great potential to being commercialized,” he says. “Nanollose can potentially change the way we produce and wear textile products.”