Biomimicry & Fashion Supply Chain

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Biomimicry is a method for creating solutions to human challenges by emulating designs and ideas found in nature. The biomimicry approach aims to favour “choices” tested by nature which had millions of years to understand what works best and what doesn’t

Biomimicry can work on three levels:

  • the organism
  • its behaviours
  • the ecosystem

Buildings on the organism level mimic a specific organism. Working on this level alone without mimicking how the organism participates in a larger context may not be sufficient to produce a building that integrates well with its environment because an organism always functions and responds to a larger context.

On a behaviour level, buildings mimic how an organism behaves or relates to its larger context.

On the level of the ecosystem, a building mimics the natural process and cycle of the greater environment.

Biomimicry, when applied to the fashion industry, goes beyond the appearance of the garment.

Biomimicry fashion aims at applying biological processes and organisms to materials and manufacturing processes that makes fashion industry more sustainable. Moreover, biomimicry is working on materials that will be self-repairing, self-cleaning, preserve energy, superhydrophobic, and more

The application of biomimicry to fashion and garments isn’t brand new. For instance, during the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games, Speedo launched a swimsuit that replicates a shark’s skin to enhance swimmer performance.

The Japanese company, Teijin, has instead been inspired by the Morpho butterflies’ wings to create the Morphotex Fiber in 2007. The wings of these butterflies are a vivid cobalt-blue even though no pigment is present. Thanks to the alternation of 61 different types of polyester and nylon fibers, Teijin has reproduced the same effect. They can use this technique to produce textiles in four basic colors that change in tone and intensity according to the angle light and without dying the fabric. As a result, the production process is energy-saving and environment-friendly.

Few more examples of Biomimicry in fashion supply chain

Bolt Threads is a company that has been inspired by nature to create sustainable materials. One of their creations is a new type of leather called Mylo. Inspired by mycelium, the network of thread-like cells that make up mushrooms, the company has invented a highly durable material that is biodegradable and is a valid substitute for synthetic leather.

Faber Futures is a company from the UK that has developed a new method for dyeing fabrics and protecting the environment. Using bacteria and a fermentation process, they can create dyes that do not fade over time. Most importantly, the process has proven to use up to 500 times less water than conventional dyeing methods—making the entire process highly sustainable.

Proklean Technologies is a company based out of Chennai, India. Proklean has developed a proprietary technology using a unique combination of Probiotics with fermentation and formulation methods. This is the first ever such technology developed anywhere in the world that has far reaching potential across several industry platforms including textiles

Algalife explores a holistic and sustainable development of new materials which positively affect both the environment and the human skin. It deals with relationships between biology, technology, man and nature, which are all intertwined to bring new sustainable solutions for the fashion industry. Bio-tech-textile: innovative natural and healthy pigments and fibers, from the microorganisms the algae. 

Orange Fiber is a startup company that produces highly sustainable fabrics from citrus juice by-products. Using an idea from orange wastes, the company has patented a new fabric formed from a silk-like cellulose yarn.

Piñatex® is a start-up company that made of fibre from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant. These leaves are a by-product from existing pineapple harvest, so the raw material requires no additional environmental resources to produce.

Vitrolabs Inc. is a research company that made lab grown leather that use animal cell to make animal hide

Plants inspired waterproofing  and animal inspired thermal insulation, colouring chromophores are few more examples of Biomimicry applications

Nature has always been considered in different subjects and in different areas of engineering, technology, materials, architecture, design, and so on, and it has been the source of inspiration for scientists and designers. Ecosystem is a vast source of inspiration and inspire mankind in future as well. Ecology is no longer perceived as a constraint but more as an opportunity to innovate and create value. 

 When it comes to biomimicry and fashion supply chain , the potential to create biomaterials is massive. As consumers becoming more aware and demanding more sustainable solutions, the future really on biomimicry that will provide new raw materials that will protect the environment and similar in aesthetics .

Naeimeh Anzabi

Two main approaches in designing forms of clothes inspired from nature are iconography and emotional design. In iconography, the main goal is to resemble the patterns and forms exist on natural creatures. In emotional design, the natural cases are selected, analysed and used based on emotional effects of natural objects or phenomena on humans. Each of these two approaches is implemented through different methodologies.

Source of Article :

Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Islamic Design, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran



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