Fashion student turns heads with kombucha-based dress

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In Scotland, a fashion student has used fermented kombucha tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast to produce clothing.

Aurelie Fanton, 23, studies at Edinburgh College of Art.

“I started by brewing a big batch of kombucha tea in the lab and then fermenting it using bacteria and yeast. After a while, a slimy brown blob of culture, which feeds on a mixture of sugar and vinegar, forms on the top. It’s a sort of synthetic mushroom, a living organism,” she tells The Daily Record. ““I then scooped this off and started the drying process, which was the time-consuming part. If you leave it too long, the fibers become too brittle to be molded. Once the culture was the consistency of leather, I was able to shape it and then coat it in the biodegradable foil used for embossing business cards. The result was quite futuristic.”

She adds that her teachers were skeptical but her the resulting dress went on to win the Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award and first place in Catwalk Textiles and M&S Womenswear Collection of the Year.