Material Connexion is a great resource for learning about the newest, most innovative materials that have properties and applications beyond our imagination. Coming from my fashion and textile science background, I was immediately drawn to textiles. To my surprise however, the ones I found most intriguing are ones grown and harvested from natural materials and processes.
These are my favorites:
Artificilae Matter by MUUNA are a collection of samples where crystals are grown onto woven and embroidered textiles to create mineral surfaces of ‘cultivated embellishment.’ This reminded me of my childhood when I grew sugar and salt crystals in petri dishes for a science fair project. It’s not uncommon to see crystals as embellishments, but often they are applied by sewing or with adhesives, which is both labor intensive and expensive. Growing crystals is such an obvious and elegant solution.
Bioleather by Thainanocellulose Co. Ltd. is a leather alternative made from bacterial cellulose. It is produced as a secretion from bacteria that is fed pineapple juice in a warm bath. The result is a thick and flexible material with a lovely iridescence when held against light.
Bioyarn by Algiknit is a compostable yarn knitted into a bio-based textile made from alginate, a readily abundant biopolymer extracted from kelp. Its semi-translucent color and rigid, rubbery texture is a sharp contrast to properties we conventionally associate with knitted textiles — warmth and softness. I tried reaching out to them for a sample because I noticed they are based in New York City, but they responded they have very limited quantities.