QUT & Kombucha

Every year, The Edge and QUT Fashion students work together on developing cutting edge fashion with a new era, sustainable material – Kombucha.

Context

About 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.

Kombucha drying on the bench, Dr Cameron Wilson, The Edge, Brisbane

Kombucha drying on the bench, The Edge, Brisbane

 

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.

Kombucha Shoe

The Teapot
By Erin Jones, Lauren Richardson, Sharka Marvilla, Rebecca Cryer

 

Links:

Our website is full of information about Kombucha, to get you started here are a few:

Media & Stories:

The Legacy:

  • 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.

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