Years ago, fashion and science was the last combination anyone would think of. Now cutting-edge fashion designers are using biology to create everything from skin suits to MRI dresses.
Bio-tech in fashion hit the headlines recently when a student at Central Saint Martins patented a technique for creating fashion garments out of cloned skin. While some fear this will lead to a future full of Buffalo Bills and Ed Geins, your biology is already playing an important part in fashion, as shown by these 4 projects:
Tina Gorjanc’s Pure Human project is the latest headline grabber, and the premise sounds more than a little creepy. Using a sample of late fashion designer Alexancer McQueen’s DNA, she plans to grow artificial human skin in a lab and turn it into a leather goods collection complete with tattoos and freckles.
While wearing the cloned skin of a dead man sounds unsettling, this has some insane future implications; it could see designers genetically sign their clothes with their own DNA. It could also be good news for animal rights activists, as cows would no longer need to be raised for leather.
Some day, buying a tailored suit made out of your own skin might even be normal.
Speaking of DNA signatures, Dot One incorporates your genetics in a different way. Using a specially developed algorithm, they turn a profile of your DNA sequence into a colourful visual design.
The company only offers posters, scarves and tartan for now, but the technique could easily be used for other clothing as well. Imagine a design that’s uniquely yours, or having other people wearing your genetic sequence as a fashion statement.
On first glance, the clothes coming out of BioCouture look like the skin sheddings of a fashionable reptile. However, unlike Pure Human this project doesn’t use human DNA. This material is a type of cellulose – the same thing found in plant cells – grown in a bathtub from a combination of bacteria and yeast by designer Suzanne Lee.
While similar to leather, these clothes are also biodegradable. Once you’ve worn them out or decided to replace your wardrobe, simply put the old clothes in the compost bin with your potato peelings.
Brooke Roberts was merging the worlds of technology and fashion before it was cool. Combining her own dual careers as a radiographer and a fashion designer, she debuted her label in 2009 with clothing patterns based on actual brain scans.
Imagine brain scans that represent different emotions – anger, joy, sadness, inspiration – all with their own unique piece. The wealthier among us could even commission a scan of their own brains; now you don’t just say what you think, you wear what you think.
When Brooke started she was an outsider, one of few designers applying science to couture; now she’s one of many pioneers in an industry embracing the new possibilities of 3D printing and wearable tech.