Sacha Lauri makes clothing and jewelry out of kombucha, more specifically the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) floating on the surface of the fermented tea. Her company is called Kombucha Couture
. From an interview with Lauri in MAKE:
Sasha, what’s the process of making an actual dress out of SCOBY?
It is very simple!
First of all, boil 1 gallon of water and add 6 black teabags (for phytonutrient/nitrogen source) and 1 cup of sugar (as carbohydrates fuel the fermentation and production of cellulose. When tea is cool, pour into a tub (approx 1/2″ deep), add a small 1″ “nugget” of kombucha SCOBY, and cover. Let sit for 1 week at room temperature. After 1 week, harvest the mat of cellulose that the original kombucha SCOBY has produced over the surface of the tub. At this point, lay the cellulose mat out on parchment paper and allow to dry in 75F with indirect sunlight. This takes 1-5 days depending on size. When cellulose is dry, I colour it with acid reactive dharma dye or food colouring and cut and sew it like a leather textile.
The process is very simple as I allow nature to do all of the production. The bacteria in the SCOBY is a strain of acetobacter which naturally spins cellulose to both protect itself and keep it floating so it has access to oxygen. It is related to the vinegar producing bacteria which also create cellulose SCOBYS. It is a very natural process and just requires nutrients (tea), sugar, and an ambient temperature for the SCOBY to begin spinning cellulose. Once I have harvested a mat, I discard half of the acidic tea and refill with fresh tea. There is enough bacteria in the liquid that a kombucha “nugget” isn’t really even necessary, although it speeds up production.
"Edible Innovations: These Dresses are Made from Kombucha" (MAKE:)
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