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FUTURE WARDROBE: Bioplastic “living” rain jacket

2020
Category: Bio - wearable
Designers:  Thora H Arnardottir & Jessica Dias in collaboration with Catherine Euale & Larra Campos 
This project is supported by the WORTH Partnership Project that is funded by the European Commission under COSME, the EU Programme for the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Future Wardrobe is a partnership of artists, designers, and researchers collaborating to propose new perspectives on textile & fashion design, intersecting with materials, tech, and living species and aiming to design a future with plurality and equality of shared nature. Within the scope of the call-3 winning Worth Partnership project, Future Wardrobe is currently developing a ‘living jacket’, using, among others. living algae. As an embodiment of the vast knowledge and deep philosophy of the team behind Future Wardrobe, the jacket acts as a discussion piece to raise awareness for the urgencies and opportunities related to rethinking our relationship with fashion and nature. 


 

We see the future of our wardrobe as living in symbiosis. Therefore, we work with living algae and approach them not as a resource, but as our client. A non-human client to whom we structure our design methods to accommodate the nurturing of its needs. We apply processes and techniques that are bio-centric. The designs and products we create are embedded with strong statements and are invitations to challenge the status quo. And this regardless of their nature, which could be highly conceptual and speculative as well as immediately applicable.

PROPOSAL

Future Wardrobe is a material based proposal where micro-algae is grown and nursed as a companion, harvested, and used for the material within the garment. The challenge is to merge biotech and fashion, demonstrating innovation in materials, technologies, and digital fabrication and mutating the concept of wearables to a human-microorganism symbiosis. 

 

Humans' disconnection to non-human nature causes rampant overconsumption of anthropocentric products. Textiles and garments are produced, worn, and discarded with no regard for people, planet, and non-human organisms. This project aims to offer viable alternatives to fossil fuel-based textiles and synthetic dyes extraction, production, uses, and end of life within the fashion and textile industry.

 

The project is about creating a 'living jacket,' serving primarily as a space to host a community of algae. As an embodiment of the team's planet-centric philosophy, the speculative interspecies design of the jacket acts to raise awareness of the urgencies and opportunities related to creating empathetic relationships to cloth and stewardship of our natural environments and the other living beings which share this space. 

 

We see the future of our wardrobes as circular and planet-centric, rather than anthropocentric in design. The project showcases circularity through creating a biodegradable material that can be harvested during maintenance as biomass from the decaying algae and recreated into our algae-based textile. Though the material is a tangible alternative proposal for fossil fuel-based textiles, it is not the main focus of Future Wardrobe. The shift from anthropocentric to planet-centric design happens as we work with living algae and approach them not as a resource, but as our client. A non-human client to whom we structure our design methods to accommodate the nurturing of its needs. We apply processes and techniques that challenge the status quo. The project is highly conceptual and speculative but involves many immediately applicable techniques.

CHALLENGE

Countering fossil fuel-based textiles and synthetic dyes extraction, production, uses, and end of life within the fashion and textile industry. Humans' disconnection to non-human nature causes rampant overconsumption of anthropocentric products. Textiles and garments are produced, worn, and discarded with no regard for people, planet, and non-human organisms.

 

We are at the dawn of algae research for material development and symbiotic systems for coexistence and planet-centric design. Algae is suitable as a biodegradable textile material, as a natural pigment or as a potential energy and oxygen source. 

 

Future Wardrobe is a material-based proposal where micro-algae is grown and nursed as a companion, harvested, and used for the material within the garment. The challenge is to merge biotech and fashion, demonstrating innovation in materials, technologies, and digital fabrication and mutating the concept of wearables to a human-microorganism symbiosis.


 

SOLUTION

Future Wardrobe is a bioplastic "living" garment, drawing on the hydrophobic properties of alginate, allowing the garment to host living algae in a continuously circulating liquid chamber. The "future" feature is a biome where the algae can interact with the wearer, through movement, sound, and environment. 

 

The project will showcase algae's potential uses as a non-polluting energy and light source, air purifier, food source, and future textile fabrication. The design will follow circularity principles by creating a fully biodegradable material, sourced locally, minimizing negative impacts on people, place, and non-human organisms.

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© 2020 by BioBabes @BioCentric Design Group

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