The ‘Bra For Change’ is a textile design which responds to the issue of climate change and ocean warming. This was a project for my third-year integrated uni project.
The Bra for Change is made from home-grown kombucha ‘leather’ and is fully compostible and recyclable – having a close loop production cycle which has positive impacts on the environment.
“The craftsman is proud of what he has made, and cherishes it, while the consumer discards things that are perfectly serviceable in his restless pursuit of the new (Crawford 2009)”.
AIMS FOR PROJECTS
My aim is to highlight the possibilities of this cellulose material through use of design for fashion accessories. I want open up the commercial market to allow consumers to be able to make more sustainable choices when it comes to choosing an alternative to leather. I will not be working exclusively with the cellulose fibre, but I will be fusing and intertwining this with other sustainable man-made materials to highlight their symbiotic relationship.
1. Observe, analyse & inquire – How can what we consider today, lead to a better tomorrow?
2. Exploration & investigation – Using social, political and economic inquiry to inform sustainable design applications.
3. Produce a range of materials/objects – To produce my own materials & produce functional, beautifully crafted products.
PROCESS & EXPRERIMENTATION
From top left, clockwise: The ‘Mother’ starter culture, Thickness of The ‘Mother’, 14-day old culture (baby), 7-day old culture (baby).
As you can see the sheet has taken on the form of the receptacle it was in. It was ready to be taken out at around ten days, but I didn’t get around to it until fourteen days. During these last four days, the SCOBY thickened up a little more.
Since growing the new layer (baby) on top, I’ve used this sample to begin a new batch. As the SCOBY multiplies, I will grow enough samples to have many batches brewing at one time, and also enough samples to start drying the surplus into a bio-leather.
The sample above is from a batch where I experimented with using green tea over black tea. A lot of widespread documentation says to use green tea, but I have always preferred black. The SCOBY on this batch took longer to produce than usual, and when it was formed, it quite bumpy and ‘pimply’ on the surface.
MATERIAL EXPLORATION (WITH FORMS)
From top left: 6 month old dried SCOBY, Weaving with 6-month old SCOBY on weaving on loom
For the weaving, I used the dried SCOBY material first to make twine to weave with. I cut the dried sample into thin strips (around 1cm wide) and then twirled the sample into a single strand. At first I used a double strand twine, joining two of these samples together (you can see this in the first part of my loom weaving), but I found it to be quite thick, so I went back to just a single strand, which I felt worked better aesthetically.
Natural Indigo Dye
Below is a video of some experimentations that I’ve done. I had 3 SCOBY mats, and cut each of these in half so I had 6 samples. Some SCOBY’s were thinner (as they hadn’t been left to ferment as long), some were thicker so they took on unique qualities when dried. I experimented with natural indigo dye, and was not expecting the colour to take so well, but it turned out really well!