Fermented Couture: A material that grows

Posted: February 15, 2012 in Extreme Fashion, Fashion First

All things living

Fashion innovators are commonly known by name such as Alexander McQueen, CoCo Chanel, Beau Brummel, and many others that have shaped fashion through an artistic view through contoured structures, colors, and style. I extend this invitation to learn about a new extreme fashion innovator, Suzanne Lee and the story behind why her perspective is astonishing to the fashion industry.

Suzanne Lee, Director of a project & Senior Research Fellow at the Central Saint Martins University of the Arts of London also author of a book titled, “Fashioning the Future: tomorrow’s wardrobe,” (“A Conversation with Suzanne Lee, Sustainable Fashion Innovator”,  2011)  has worked along side scientist to create a craft like none other, extreme fashion, to say the least.

Suzanne’s concepts remind me of memories of my dog’s infamous ear dog chews. The reminisced fact of stepping on what feels like a wet noodle after hours of my Chihuahua’s chewing and gnawing at his attempt to completely devour this morsel of what seems to be delicious. Or visions of the movie, “Silence of the Lambs,” where Buffalo Bill, the creepy killer that configures a woman’s suit made out of his victim skin. Are you visualizing where I am headed yet? Let the journey begin.

I introduce a mixture comprised of sugar, green tea, and microorganisms-called microbes, joined together in a bathtub to soak, ferment, and left to grow into a raw material that is actually wearable. This is quite unbelievable; you can close your mouth now. I had the same reaction after reviewing this astounding creation myself. The grasp of this possibility still has me puzzled like mahjong.

Microbes: The material that grows

I am almost 100% positive many would feel “grossed out” by the thought of wearing a living germ for the sake of being fashion forward. Imagine, your favorite jacket made from epidermis-not your skin but someone else’s. What type of hanger would you use? Maybe something made out of bones. Did you know toothpaste is made out of animal bones (“9 Surprising Items Made With Animal Ingredients,” 2011)?  Would you consider owning a “meat dress” designed by Franc Fernandez? Interesting to know that clothing can came from all things living. Gross, but extremely innovative.



Make it yourself tote bag

 Suzanne Lee, takes top honors for not only attempting to create sustainable clothes but for thinking way beyond the outside of the box and inside of what we know is “alive and well”. The picturesque scenes are presented through this story to understand exactly what has been conceptualized. Enjoy the videos below-as it is much harder to explain this excogitation in words.

Suzanne Lee discusses how you can grow your own clothes:

Still not convinced on “bio couture”!



A Conversation with Suzanne Lee, Sustainable Fashion Innovator.  (2011, July 27). Samantha Micheals: The Atlantic.com. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/a-conversation-with-suzanne-lee-sustainable-fashion-innovator/242644/

Chua, Jasmin Malik (2010, July 10). BioCouture: U.K. Designer “Grows” and Entire Wardrobe from Bacteria. Retrieved from http://www.ecouterre.com/u-k-designer-grows-an-entire-wardrobe-from-tea-fermenting-bacteria/

TED. (2011, May).  Suzanne Lee: Grow your own clothes [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes.html

Suzanne Lee: Biocouture-growing textiles [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/11565/suzanne-lee-biocouture-growing-textiles.html

9 Surprising Items Made with Animal Ingredients. (2011). Retrieved February 14, 2012 from http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-surprising-items-made-with-animal-ingredients.html?page=10

  1. lwklang says:

    I must say, I definitely got a reaction out of this. Suzanne Lee sounds like a true innovator in the fashion industry. The materials she uses are not widely accepted, but that is what makes an innovator, stepping outside the box.

  2. meghan2191 says:

    This was an extremely interesting example of fashion innovation! I personally will not be purchasing any garments made of anything with the word epidermis attached but the fashion world always attempts to feed the desire for constant growth. The big questions always seems to be “what is the next big thing?” “What have we not already done?” This is an interesting route for a designer to take and I will be interested to see who adopts this style for their personal wardrobe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s