From Lady’s Gaga’s famed meat dress to the extreme haute couture of Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion knows no limits. From fruits and vegetables fashioned into towering hats to bread manipulated into voluminous dresses, fashion has forever pushed boundaries time and time again. The latest in fashion extremes intertwines the wonder of science with modern art – a Pinot Noir lover’s dream. Researchers from The University of Western Australia have found a way to turn wine into clothing. Yes, that means that someday your glass of Pinot Noir could end up turning into your skirt, slacks or even your favorite cozy sweater.
The discovery was made when scientist Gary Cass happened to stumble upon an odd rubber-like layer growing on a vat of wine that had been contaminated by Acetobacter bacteria. While the bacteria was non-hazardous, the strange skin-like layer piqued Cass’ curiosity and he recruited the help of artist Donna Franklin. The two began to develop a way to utilize the bacteria’s ability to create a cellulose fabric from alcohol.
The meticulous method involves laying the unique fabric over a mold, allowing it to take on the shape of whatever it is clinging to. This method results in a seamless cellulose fabric made from alcohol and can be repeated using other fermented beverages such as beer and white wine. Imagine that, taking your favorite stout or chardonnay and watching it turn into your favorite pair of jeans. Yet while the material takes on the beverage’s specific color and may be a novel item to delight upon it also retains its natural smell. So yes, a wine suit may be your next party’s conversation piece but your guests might not be too fond of the peculiar odors it produces.
On the bright side, the fermented fabric is reported to feel like a second skin and involves zero sewing. This means that it is cheaper to make than most fabrics since it requires less labor and materials. The fabric is also biodegradable and organic, so it’s an eco-friendly way to impress your friends with the latest a la mode – assuming they don’t mind the smell of course.
The unique clothing has been fitfully named “Micro’be’.” The name reflects the fact that it is created from living microbes and its scientific background. The concept of Micro’be’ takes an innovative look into wine’s many beneficial possibilities. For centuries wine has been considered an art in itself, a craft whose method has been altered and fine-tuned by wine connoisseurs worldwide. The idea of turning wine into clothing has created an entirely new art and invites the fashion world to consider fermented beverages as a possible route to organic clothing. In an era in which an eco-conscious generation has begun to revolutionize the way we think of our environment, clothing utilizing the power of fermented beverages may not be too far-fetched. So next time you’re shopping, keep an eye out for this fermented fabric – it may just be the latest thing on a storefront’s mannequin.