So This Is What Bio Fashion Looks Like

In the FEST space, we come exciting innovations and ideas all the time. Some are alive and kicking right at this very moment – others won’t be mainstream for years. For futuristic fashion that’s both alive and kicking right now and part of a revolution in biodesign that could change the apparel industry dramatically over the next 10 to twenty years, look no further than Faber Futures and founder Natsai Audrey Chieza, who works with live microscopic bacteria to create sustainable textile dyes.

Always drawn to creative processes, Natsai’s path to science-driven apparel design was anything but straightforward. In fact, she was studying to be an architect when a fascination with fashion struck. Hoping to bolster her education with a program in fashion design, she ran into a roadblock when the masters-level fashion programs she applied to turned her down because she didn’t have a traditional undergraduate degree in fashion. Ultimately, she landed in the prestigious Material Futures program at London’s Central Saint Martins.

So what exactly is Material Futures? It’s an emerging field that focuses on collaborations between a variety of disciplines to anticipate mankind’s needs, desires and challenges in the 21st century. A large part of this is jewelry and textile production.

On Spirit of 608 EP 118, Natsai gives us a sense of how obsessed with the future her work is.

“I work with living systems to see what we can design with them….My motivation for doing this is to see what our material futures are going to be when we divest from oil, since most of our materials are petroleum based,” Natsai says.

It’s a field that skirts the edges of science fiction and reality. She specializes in biodesign and shared with us how she’s currently working on getting bacteria to produce an indigo color to dye textile. By turning the production aspect into an organic process itself, textile dyeing as a whole has the potential to become far safer for the environment and the people who work to bring beautiful colors to clothing.

Along with Faber Futures, Natsai is an artist-in-residence at Ginkgo Bioworks, a company that studies how to replace technology with biology.

Although replacing machinery with bacteria sounds incredibly complex for anyone but a scientist to comprehend, Natsai isn’t a biologist – and she insists that’s part of her power. By being an outsider, she’s able to see things differently while working in the lab and create new systems that bridge the gap from biology to design.

Images courtesy of Faber Futures



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