So much fashion ends up in the trash, but a delicate dress from Dutch designer Aniela Hoitink isn't destined for the landfill. Instead, this little number grown from fungi can be composted at the end of its use.
Tech-ed Out Clothing Is Fashion Forward: Photos
Hoitink is on a quest to improve on traditional textiles. She works to translate technology and microbiology into surprising results through her Amsterdam-based firm NEFFA. In order to make this unusual dress, she had to invent a new textile called MycoTEX.
She started with mycelium, the threadlike vegetative part of fungi that absorbs nutrients. Mycelium has amazing properties. It's fast-growing and, when dried, is nontoxic, water-resistant, fireproof, and - pound for pound - stronger than concrete, Time reported. Initially Hoitink tried combining it with fabric to make it flexible, and then set her sights higher.
Magic Mushrooms In My Yard: Photos
Inspired by self-replicating soft-bodied organisms, she constructed a new textile made from thin round mycelium discs she calls "modules." These flexible modules were layered and molded to form the dress.
"...it is possible to create mycelium patterns, to adjust the length of the garment or, for example, to add elements," the project description reads. Another advantage is the ability to only grow the fabric needed, so there's no extra waste. Unlike synthetic fabrics, MyoTEX can be composted when the garment is no longer wanted.
Currently the dress is on display at the Fungal Futures exhibit in Utrecht.
Stunning Petal Dress 3D-Printed Just for You
MycoTEX brought to mind Ecovative, a biomaterials company in upstate New York that grows sustainable packaging and products from mycelium.
Knowing how stong their materials are - they grow a particleboard replacement - made me even more impressed with the flexibility that Hoitink introduced to it.
While I'd probably look like potatoes au gratin in her dress, if she can pull off a more colorful version of MycoTEX using natural dyes, I'd love to try it out. The material isn't really for activewear, though. This textile is is for hanging out and putting down roots.