Red Wine Made into Dress

Researchers at the University of Western Australia have discovered a way to make red wine into clothing, no weaving required.

Scientist Gary Cass got the idea when he noticed a skin-like rubbery layer covering a vat of wine that was contaminated with Acetobacter, a non-hazardous bacteria. Working with artist Donna Franklin, they developed this material into a new cellulose-based textile named Micro’be’.

When a colony of Acetobacter bacteria ferment wine into vinegar, the by-product is cellulose—a slimy, rubbery, soft, skin-like substance which is chemically similar to cotton. To make clothing, this material is wrapped against either a mold or human body. Reportedly, the “fabric” feels like sludge while it’s wet and forming, but once dry, it acts like a second skin. Micro’be’ is eco-friendly, organic, and biodegradable.

After their success with red wine, Cass and Franklin successfully created garments with white wine and beers like Guinness. All of the garments retain their natural odor and color.

To make the new fabric commercially viable, a range of issues need to be addressed, such as the alcohol odor and the fabric’s lack of flexibility. Cass and Franklin are continuing their work to address these issues.

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