Fair Fashion

Aussies Create Dress Made Of Microbes From Wine

Microbe Dress. Image by Ray Scott.

We all want more sustainable clothing, but how about a dress made from billions of microscopic creatures? Using Acetobacter bacteria – the kind that ferments vinegar into wine – a group of scientists from the University of Western Australia have created a dress that is literally grown instead of sewn.

Back of dress. Image by Bewley Shaylor.

Called Micro’be’, the ‘fermented fashion’ project is described by the team as such:

Micro’be’ fermented fashion investigates the practical and cultural biosynthesis of clothing – to explore the possible forms and cultural implications of futuristic dress-making and textile technologies.

Instead of lifeless weaving machines producing the textile, living microbes will ferment a garment.

A fermented garment will not only rupture the meaning of traditional interactions with body and clothing; but also raise questions around the contentious nature of the living materials themselves.

This project redefines the production of woven materials.

By combining art and science knowledge and with a little inventiveness, the ultimate goal will be to produce a bacterial fermented seamless garment that forms without a single stitch.”

Front detail. Image by Bewley Taylor.

Seriously, this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. And since it’s just made from microbes, it is naturally biodegradable. Would you wear a dress made from microbes?

Image by Ray Scott.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.