Bacteria-infused clothing for improved skin

Designer Rosie Broadhead, in collaboration with microbiologist Chris Callewaert, developed clothing with encapsulated bacteria in the fibres to promote reduced body odour, cell renewal and the skin’s immune system.

Our current society is obsessed with cleanness and sterility, as proven by the dozens of available (personal) cleaning products. However, our bodies host millions of microorganisms, which are vital to a healthy body. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and optimal skin conditions depend on the probiotic microbes that live there. Cosmetic products and fabric finishes can contain toxic chemicals that disrupt the diversity of bacteria living on our skin.

In collaboration with Dr Calleweart, Broadhead developed SKIN II, a project that explores the benefits of encapsulating probiotic bacteria into the fibres of clothing. The bacteria are activated when they come into contact with our sweat and dominate other, less beneficial bacteria.

“The encapsulated bacteria are associated with reduced body odour, encouraging cell renewal, and improving the skin’s immune system,” Broadhead states. “SKIN II aims to use what is natural on our bodies to advance the functionality of clothing.”

Photos: Karl Felix
Set Design Consultant: Tom Schneider