Senior research fellow Suzanne Lee believes that it isn’t long before more of us start to make our own clothes, but she’s not talking about turning to sewing machines. In Lee’s world the future of fashion lies in utilizing biochemical advances to literally make the materials on our back.
Right now Lee’s research is focused on kombucha-like recipes that grow into fashion pieces and she spends her days exploring all the ways we can spin microbes into tiny threads that ultimately grow into clothing.
Depending on the path of her ideas, Lee’s bio-clothing movement could mirror that of 3D printers. In the beginning the industry will be ruled by corporate R & D and DIY science groups, but as technology advances someone will have to decide whether this is the stuff regulated only to big brands, or something that the general public can experience.
If the latter occurs we’re looking at a manufacturing revolution that allows people to grow or print everything from gala dresses to cell phones. From there real questions start to emerge. In the future will we all be designers of the tangible world in the same way that we’ve all become content creators on the internet? Are each of us destined to become the keepers of own personal brand of clothing and electronic devices? Perhaps most important, in a world where everything can be grown and created on demand, what does branding mean anyway?