The Future Of Fashion In 5 Wild New Garments – Co.Design (blog)

Installation view of Items: Is Fashion Modern? The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1, 2017-January 28, 2018. [Photo: Martin Seck]

“While doing research on the exhibition, we singled out some typologies that we noticed were ripe for reinterpretation–whether technological, formal, or cultural–and matched them with designers and scientists to commission a new prototype,” Antonelli tells Co.Design in an email.

“In other cases, we wanted to engage with certain designers and companies that we knew were already working on highly innovative typologies or technologies–like Bolt Threads, Modern Meadow–and with designers whose idiosyncratic work we admired, like Lucy Jones, Ambush, Richard Malone, Kerby Jean-Raymond, or Pia Interlandi, among others. In other words, the brief was, ‘please take this item into the present and into the future.’”

Here’s how five designers did just that.

Animal-Free Leather by Modern Meadow

Zoa [Photo: Sara Kinney/courtesy Modern Meadow]

Fake leather isn’t new, but bio-fabricated leather is. The New Jersey-based startup Modern Meadow has developed a process that lets it grow collagen–the main protein in animal skins–from engineered yeast. The company then turns that into a realistic-feeling leather product called Zoa. It can be fabricated into sheets, molded into different shapes, or even sprayed onto other textiles. For MoMA’s exhibition, the company created a cotton-and-leather shirt. Next year it plans to release a full line of consumer products.

Spider Silk Garments by Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads

Spider Silk Garments. [Photo: courtesy Bolt Threads]

Bolt Threads–a Bay Area biotech company–has been experimenting with artificial spider silk for years. First, the company modifies the DNA of yeast. Then, as it ferments and grows, it creates proteins that mimic the structure of silk. Bolt Threads then weaves that into fibers. This spring, it finally delivered its first product, a $300 tie, and for MoMA it collaborated with British fashion designer Stella McCartney on a dress.

“While technology has impacted many areas of our lives in the past few decades, apparel has remained relatively unchanged,” Dan Widmaier, CEO of Bolt Threads, tells Co.Design in an email. “Fashion designers have been relying on the same textiles for years, so they’re eager to use our newly designed materials. We’re very optimistic about the power of technology to create new material performance features and make fashion more sustainable.”


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