Why bother to weave and sew new clothes when you can just grow them? The Washington Post reports on Luis Quijano, a 19-year-old former political science major at Liberty University who is experimenting with growing his own "leather-like material" using water, sugar, green tea, kombucha, and fermentation. While Quijano, who started his operation out of his dorm room, admits "it can get a bit smelly," he also says "it has the potential to eliminate a lot of waste from the fashion industry," which can be incredibly destructive to the environment. Growing your own material can not only make the process more ecologically sound but can also eliminate the need for turning materials into yarn, weaving, or sewing.
“It comes out skin-tone, transparent, but depending on what you do to add color, it can be very pretty,” Quijano says of his material. He's now a fashion design major working out of Liberty's Center for Natural Sciences. Quijano plans to show off his material, which can be dried over a mannequin or other form to mold it, as "business-wear with a twist" in the April fashion show at Liberty. His next steps are to figure out how to make material that is thicker and waterproof before going commercial with it. Quijano is far from alone in his endeavor. He was inspired by a 2011 TED talk, and other people are growing leather substitutes using pineapples, mushrooms, protein microfibers based on the DNA of spiders, and more. Read the full story here