Every year, The Edge and QUT Fashion students work together on developing cutting edge fashion with a new era, sustainable material – Kombucha.
Kombucha is produced by fermenting sweet tea using a symbiotic colony bacteria and yeast. It is a lightly effervescent drink regarded by many as functional food that assists in digestive health and liver detoxification. But The Edge is growing kombucha tea for an entirely different reason. Researchers, the most prominent of these being Suzanne Lee, have suggested the microbial cellulose pellicle produced by a kombucha culture can also be used as a clothing textile. Over the last three years The Edge has been experimenting in growing kombucha and harvesting the cellulose pellicle as artificial or vegan leather.
The Nuts and Bolts
The Fashion Challenge
In 2015, the fashion students were given a new challenge. Create shoes using kombucha!
Sustainable Footwear: A QUT Fashion Exhibition
The project involved 31 first year students studying Fashion Design at QUT. Their brief was to develop a shoe design using kombucha – a material grown from tea through a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The dried material feels like a cross between leather and paper, and is sustainably grown and fully biodegradable in its natural state. Along with Dr Peter Musk, The Edge’s Science Catalyst, students were introduced to the process of growing kombucha. They experimented with blending it, moulding it, and adding dye and glitter to change its naturally brown colour. Others introduced spray paint and included 3D printed and laser cut elements in their shoe designs.
Our website is full of information about Kombucha, to get you started here are a few:
- WEARABLE BACTERIA? By Alex Bell
- Caring for your Kombucha
- Sustainable Footwear: A QUT Fashion Exhibition
- TRYIT Workshop // Growing and Making Vegan Leather Fashion
- TRYIT Workshop // Kombucha Wearables
Media & Stories:
- Flickr: Create-X Kombucha Clothing
- The Conversation: Will we soon be growing our own vegan leather at home?
- ABC News: Kombucha clothing: Scientists, designers work to make fermented tea into a textile
- ABC News: ‘Scary and gross’: Queensland fashion students grow garments in jars with kombucha
- Brisbane Times: QUT and State Library leading the way in ‘vegan leather’
- D*Hub: Biotechnology, kombucha and textiles have a lot in common
- The Edge continues to work with Kombucha, running workshops and experimenting with new treatments.
- To view any upcoming kombucha workshops, check out our what’s on calendar.