In London, one fashion scientist is experimenting with new ways of making fashion more sustainable. Natsai Audrey Chieza is creating beautiful clothes that have been dyed using bacteria. 

When Natsai was studying at Central Saint Martins, she met Professor John Ward from UCL, who introduced her to a bacterium that can produce different colours depending on the conditions it is kept under. She uses the colours available as a design toolkit to create her next generation designs. 

In order to dye the fabric, Natsai allows the bacterium to ferment in a sugar solution for seven days, and by the end of that time it has taken on a deep pigment. Like a brewer making beer, Natsai tweaks the conditions of fermentation to achieve different results. 

In these times of rapid change and development, it is important to consider how technology is changing, and how we design and fabricate our environment, specifically in the context of climate change. Natsai hopes that her innovations will one day be produced on a larger scale, making fashion more sustainable. At present, the manufacture of clothes involves huge amounts of water usage, and all sorts of chemical dyes. Hopefully, bacteria-dyeing technology can be made both efficient and cost effective on a large scale, allowing us to enjoy fashion, at little cost to the planet. 

Originally created and published by BBC Click

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