I like to observe life, and I love life and nature very much, so I want to incorporate biotechnology into my clothing design. I think that designing is to create personalized designs for customers, rather than waste mass-produced clothing. I think biotechnology is not only about studying emerging substances, it should also be about discovering the natural laws of living beings and using them for development. With the increase of the world’s population and the improvement of people’s living standards, the output of human waste is also increasing. I believe that, when biotech clothing enters the public’s fields of view, it will not only increase the use of waste to a certain extent, but also increase the public’s awareness of environmental protection.
我在项目中使用到了SCOBY①作为面料改造的原材料，它是细菌和酵母的共生体（for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast）。在SCOBY的培养基的制作上，我尝试了用不同品种的原材料进行实验，比如在茶叶的选择上，我曾用了大红袍、乌龙茶、普洱茶和云南金丝滇红茶来制作Kombucha。因为茶里面都含有了茶多酚和茶碱的物质，所以才可以给SCOBY提供营养，这个菌在培养皿中才可以继续生长。在MA期间，我想以这种方式方法去探索更多的可再生生物面料，从而为服装设计的发展创造更多可能性。在制作期间，我发现菌层较薄的地方在风干之后缺乏韧性，质感脆，容易破损。通过查阅资料，我了解到用食用油和矿物油的混合物擦拭会增加韧性。但反复尝试后，我认为甘油更为合适，它不仅增加了韧性，还在一定程度上增加了光泽。SCOBY面料质感类似于皮革，有一定韧性且呈半透明状，适用于外套、箱包以及鞋靴的制作。但SCOBY面料在风干之后会有一定的气味，我认为这将是我在MA期间学习要攻克的问题。
I used SCOBY① as the raw material for fabrics transformation in the project. It is a symbiotic colony of fungi and yeast. In the production of SCOBY’s culture medium, I tried to experiment with different kinds of raw materials. For example, during the selection of tea, I used Dahongpao, Oolong tea, Pu’er tea and Yunnan Jinsidian black tea to make Kombucha. Because tea contains tea polyphenols and theophylline, it can provide nutrition to SCOBY, and this fungi can continue to grow in the petri dish. During the MA period, I want to explore more renewable bio-fabrics in this way, so as to create more possibilities for the development of clothing design. During the production, I found that the thinner layer of fungi lacks toughness after air-drying, its texture is brittle and easy to break. After checking out relevant information, I learned that, rubbing it with a mixture of cooking oil and mineral oil will increase its toughness. But after repeated attempts, I think glycerin is more suitable. It not only increases toughness, but also enhances gloss to a certain extent. The texture of SCOBY fabrics is similar to the leather, with a certain degree of toughness and translucent shape, suitable for the production of jackets, bags and shoes. However, the SCOBY fabrics will exert a certain smell after air-drying. I think this will be a problem that I have to overcome during my MA period.
(Photos I shot during the production of Kombucha fabrics)
经历了SCOBY面料的学习与服装制作让我对菌类这种物质有了新的认识。食用菌采收完，由于蘑菇渣、菌棒中含有丰富的钙、磷、钾等矿物质元素，剩余的菌棒如果处置不当会造成环境污染。英国设计师Sebastian Cox和Ninela Ivanov② 利用真菌材料制作了灯罩，椅子等家具产品。现如今真菌材料开始被研究，用在室内家具和建筑上。我认为，真菌作为一种粘合剂同样可以为服装设计提供更多可能性。
After learning SCOBY fabrics and making clothes, I have a new understanding of the fungi. After the edible fungi are harvested, the mushroom residue and fungus sticks are rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and other mineral elements. If the remaining fungi sticks are not handled properly, they will cause environmental pollution. British designers Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanov② used fungal materials to make lampshades, chairs and other furniture products. Nowadays, fungal materials are being studied and used in interior furniture and construction. I think that fungus as an adhesive can also provide more possibilities for clothing design.
Programme of Study
I will first experiment with a variety of fungal materials to test their feasibility as adhesives, such as fomes fomentarius, Mycelium, etc. I think that different types of fungi have different adhesive properties, and by changing the conditions of the culture environment, they can have different structural properties. The growth environment of fungi③ is often inseparable from loose culture materials or humus materials. How to make fungi into usable clothing fabrics will be the main problem I will overcome in my future studies. I will start with the original method (same as the method of making furniture), using wood chips and straw as the substrate, and learn from them. I will preferentially select the culture medium from agricultural waste and industrial waste④, and experiment with different culture environments to make the manufactured materials more suitable for clothing production. At the same time, I will study the broad applicability of biological fabrics cultivated by different substrates for clothing, so that this kind of biological technology can be more widely used in people’s daily life.
During the MA period, while the actual clothing is being made, I want to try to present the concept of biotech clothing in a video format, hoping to improve my project through people’s feedback and evaluation.