Can You Really Grow Fabric in a Test Tube?
A fashion designer turned microbiologist is combining her passions for science and clothing by growing textiles in test tubes, hoping to change the scope of the fashion industry forever.
Suzanne Lee, creative director of Brooklyn-based biotech start-up Modern Meadow, got her start with biofabrics (as they're known) 10 years ago, when a Scottish biologist introduced her to the concept of growing cellulose from bacteria rather than plants like cotton. The duo worked together to grow a leather-like byproduct of kombucha, a popular fermented tea, that's reportedly much stronger than most modern fabrics. The other fascinating part? The fabric could be draped around a dress-form to knit itself together–no sewing required. She's made several jackets with the byproduct, showcasing its practicality and diversity.
Today, she's working with Modern Meadow to delve into growing leather from bovine cells (cattle cells), hoping to revolutionize the way garments are created around the world.
Many thanks to Pattie Graver for this BeWeave It suggestion!