Within the current fashion and textiles system, the embroidery industry is limited by unsustainable material options and a lack of innovation. Shimmering beads and sequins are industrially made from petroleum plastic or synthetic resins. Their use and disposal impose a huge environmental problem and contribute largely to the micro-plastic issue that planet Earth is currently facing.
Looking into consumer patterns on a mass scale, it is impractical for embroidery to be recycled from its base fabric, consequently, these tiny plastic components are sitting in landfill and entering our environment through various waste streams.
Designer, Elissa Brunato, points out that it is the optimal moment to re-envision the origin of materials that are currently petroleum-derived to initiate a more circular textile economy.
'Bio Iridescent Sequin' finds an answer in the research of bio-technologies that are capable of harnessing naturally abundant materials, to create shimmering structural colours. By extracting the crystalline form of cellulose, the wood-originating matter can imitate the alluring visual aesthetics of beetle wings. The material remains lightweight and as strong as plastic, yet it is compostable.
Working alongside Material Scientists Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abitbol from the RISE
Research Institutes of Sweden, Elissa Brunato created sequins for embroidery, that use wood’s ability to form structures that refract light. In this way, it is possible for this 'Bio Iridescent Sequin'
to shimmer naturally without added chemicals. It is an entirely new way to approach colour and finishes within the Fashion and Textiles Industry.
Re-imagining the landscape of available materials that we have on this earth can allow for safer and more environmentally sustainable approaches to shimmering colour. These approaches have the potential to outshine the previous options in a way that is more forward thinking and innovative.
Winner of the Green trail, Maison/0 Prize and the Mills Fabrica Material Innovation Prize. 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Award Runners Up and Winner of 2019 Creative Review Innovation Award.
Exhibitions: Biofabricate Summit, The Sustainable Angle Future Fabrics Expo London, New York Textile Month, Dubai Design Week, Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, BASE Ventura Future Milan Design Week.
- Research Institutes of Sweden