What to wear in the future

One of the major challenges to material innovation is the simple truth that we have to find ways to reuse the raw materials before they’re all used up. This applies in particular to textiles, a market that grew by almost 50% between 2000 and 2010.

Textiles are mainly used in clothing, a huge industry that welcomes design innovation but which is also at the mercy of fashion trends. There is barely time for research in between seasons.

So it’s very welcome when designers and material innovators take a moment to work on some truly game-changing ideas. Here are some of the best.

BioCouture is a UK company that is growing clothes from microbes, using little more than sugar and water as the raw ingredients. Similar to the work of Myx, Ecovative and others, the company is researching all kinds of natural processes, from bacteria and moulds to recovered waste products.

Industrial waste is the key to Gertrude Berg’s work. Her designs make artful use of recovered scraps – from plastics and textiles to heavier materials – that she combines without cutting them further. This Spartan procedure nevertheless finds all kinds of visual complexity, putting her fashion in the realm of the sculptural.

Meanwhile, Patagonia, a brand of outdoor gear, is urging customers not to buy its products, unless they absolutely need to. The environmentally conscious brand also sells repair kits, so that customers can take care of their (expensive) clothing. The idea here is that real care transforms ownership into belonging, so that people will cherish and hold on to clothing for much longer.

This has some implications for marketing teams, but we applaud the effort by these companies. There’s much more info in this video. How are you going to shape the clothing future? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Images and info via: BergwerkBKBioCouture and ifixit/Patagonia.

Some images via The Next Black.