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BWA students grow their own fabric

Students in Year 8 are growing their own fabric from bacteria to help better understand the importance of sustainability in the textile industry.

The idea taken from fashion designer Suzanne Lee, will see the students grow the fabric using bacteria to produce a material that has similar properties to leather and is not only biodegradable but also compostable meaning you could throw it away like you would your vegetable peelings.

The students mixed together vinegar, sugar, green tea Kombucha culture and hot water to create the environment for the fabric to grow. After four weeks the fabric will form on top of the liquid and once dry they will be able to dye or embroider it.

As part of the project they are designing their own shirts and collars using smart materials, glow in the dark dyes or dyes that change colour when they get warm. Every student will receive some of the grown material to include on their shirt in whichever way they want.

DT teacher Miss Selina Moore said, ‘The importance of growing fabric is looking at the wider issues of sustainability in the textiles industry and the growing population. We are not claiming that this fabric will take over from cotton or silk but it might be able to take some of the pressure off.

‘Creating this fabric and using smart materials and dyes is cross-curricular link with science. This is important as it is showing students transferable skills and how in the outside world of work you need a range of skills to succeed.’

Year 8 student Jessica Bedwell said, ‘I think it is a good project because it means that we really get to be involved with what we are doing. Making the fabric isn’t something we would normally do, we usually have the materials at a sewing machine and create something but with this project we get to see and learn how we have made it and understand how it has come to the way it is.’

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