Bacterial cellulose can be durable
Focusing on bold patterns and colour palettes, Luis Quijano, a student at the Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is successful in merging fashion with some unlikely counterparts - microbiology and mechanical engineering - to bring to life an idea that had long been only conceptualised: growing your own clothes. This senior fashion student has been working rigorously to create what he thinks could be the most innovative trend in fashion. Luis Quijano talks to Fibre2Fashion about using bacterial cellulose as a non-woven.
My journey started with speaking about bacterial cellulose. Then I decided to explore growing the material and had the opportunity to go to Australia last summer for research. Recently, I finished my senior honor thesis, applied for the Fulbright scholarship to study in Australia, and am currently writing conference papers on bacterial cellulose. The last few years have been years of continual growth and change. I would never have expected to be in the position that I am in the field of bacterial cellulose, and am looking further to continuing research on this textile.
My journey with bacterial cellulose started while watching a Tedtalk show of Suzanne Lee describing how to grow one's clothes. The process seemed abstract to me and raised my interest. Thus, I researched bacterial cellulose and delivered an informative speech for my Liberty University forensics speech team during my sophomore undergraduate year.
I have used white sugar, green tea, kombucha tea and distilled or boiled water as well as coconut oil, food colour and vinegar. In comparison to the status quo of how most textiles are produced, bacterial cellulose can be considered to be more eco-friendly.
I intend to modify the manufacturing process by researching and utilising more efficient growing processes so that bacterial cellulose may be grown faster. In addition, I intend to explore methods of waterproofing bacterial cellulose.
Each batch that one grows may consist of variations in thickness, colour and length depending on the size of the container and the ingredients used.
Bacterial cellulose is very receptive to colours. In addition, detailing and ornamentation appears to be characteristics that bacterial cellulose can support. Sacha Laurin, founder and owner of Kombucha Couture, has utilised these various processes in creating elaborate garments from bacterial cellulose.
No official cost analyses have been done to figure out how much cost goes into the fabric per yard or meter. However, the potential of bacterial cellulose makes it economically viable and practical. It is most optimally grown at room temperature, meaning anyone can grow it in his home.
In my upcoming senior design collection that I will be presenting in April, I am planning to include in my designs sustainable aspects, such as bacterial cellulose, reversible wear, zero waste design and digital printing.
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