Finalist 2022

Next-Gen materials - Biomaterial

June Lee

Using 100% silk fabrics and food-based biomaterial, our ethereal, sculptural dresses can be repaired, repurposed and eventually safely composted.

Changing our relationship with clothing, from one of neglectful fast-fashion consumption to one that involves living clothes made from sustainable biomaterials is the future of fashion.

Design Brief:

Explore the relationship between attraction and repulsion. Choose two techniques or methodologies which will frame your research and help you straddle this dichotomy.

This project was developed by:

  • June Lee

Design Process

I chose to frame my research around draping (specifically Grecian draping and the pleated work of Madame Grès) and the development and application of a food-based biomaterial. The biomaterial has a range of potential uses in the design and construction of future facing fashion.

My research so far includes the following applications;

  • Using the material as a type of featherweight glue to replace traditional sewing techniques
  • Application of the biomaterial to mould fabric to any body
  • Freezing in place Grecian style pleated drapes as functional and decorative elements
  • Applying non- toxic colour to fabric

The ingredients for the biomaterial can be easily sourced, leading to an inventive “mixing” approach with improvised ingredients for different outcomes. The process involved controlling the temperature, moisture content, agitation, and drying time. The nature of the biomaterial is that it can be reheated and reused but at the end of life, the garment can be safely composted.

Design Excellence

I challenged myself to design a collection that looked like a splash of water. Moreover, I wanted to use premium silk fabrics, sourced locally, to make luxurious dresses that are beyond trends. The bias cut and corset based dresses are designed to be made to measure so that all bodies can be fitted. The broad potential application of the biomaterial gives me a path to follow moving forward as a professional designer.

Design Innovation

The fashion system of producing and disposing of clothing faster than a camera flash is dangerously unsustainable. Consumption habits appear to be bouncing back after a short pause during the pandemic. I want to actively promote a positive alternative which has a minimal environmental footprint and has our land, water and air quality front of mind. By using bio-based fabrics and embellishments I want to be part of the successful transition to a circular fashion economy.

Design Impact

STATE of GRES promotes a considered, experimental yet classically beautiful aesthetic. Through contribution to the circular fashion system and the use of inclusive imagery, STATE of GRACE aims to be a part of the growing number of net positive fashion businesses. I believe that circularity goes hand in hand with waste reduction, efficiency and profitability. Consumers can feel good about purchasing enduring styles to be treasured and reinterpreted.

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