Biodegradable textile made from algae and silk protein

With her project Decomposition of Materiality and Identities, designer Scarlett Yang imagines a circular ecosystem in which garments grow, decompose and shape-change throughout time and changing environment.

Awarded the LVMH Maison/0 Green Trial prize 2020, the project explores in sustainable design solutions through combing bio design, digital fabrication, 3D generative simulation into traditional fashion design.

For the project, Yang researched and developed a biodegradable textile made with silk cocoon protein and algae extract, forming a 100% biodegradable textile and without the addition of any chemical or plastic ingredients.

Silk cocoon protein, also called sericin, is a bio waste, commonly discarded in industrial waste water from textile manufacturing. Sericin is hydrophobic (water-repellent). Yang used this property in her material research by applying a selective patten on the bio textile so the overall texture is controlled through varying humidity settings, resulting in shrinkage and creases in specific areas of the textile as it responds to the local climate environment.

In addition to designing the material, Yang also used 3D simulation on the decomposition process, and the reduction of excess material, energy and labour wastes. To design silhouettes, Yang 3D modelled the textile and simulated the material movements in various virtual environments. From hundreds of generated designed, she selected a few to further train.

Yang also created a capsule collection of digital garment with the 3D material simulation, which is currently in development to be virtually worn through AR and CGI in creative productions. The digital products will soon be available to purchase for public customers, on a selection of e-commerce platforms.

Photos: Scarlett Yang


  1. Wil Poort says:

    Interesting and promising project