I saw this in the Washington Post about a week ago, so interesting!
In a warren of sterile, high-tech labs in Brooklyn, fashion designer Suzanne Lee is working with scientists to grow bovine cells into a dense material very similar to cowhide. “Lee, in other words, is growing petri plates of leather,” Daniel Grushkin writes in “Cultured Couture” in Popular Science magazine.
Lee has been working at the intersection of biotech and fashion since the early 2000s, when, as a senior fellow at an art school, she encountered biologist David Hepworth. They began growing a tea-based cellulose in the lab; the gelatinous mat they produced turned into a fabric that was extraordinarily strong, absorbed dyes beautifully and, when molded into a garment while wet, could knit itself together so it had no seams at all. “You can actually have a dress growing in a vat of liquid,” Lee says. “I had never imagined a piece of clothing could be alive.”
There’s more, but let’s skip to the fun part: Grow — and sew — your own! Pop Sci offers a recipe that starts with the ingredients for kombucha — vinegar, sugar, green tea and kombucha culture. After some boiling, brewing, letting the fabric develop at room temperature and washing it, you get a sheet of material. Let it dry, get out that old Singer and start stitching.
AND, I found a short TED talk by this designer about this!