Text / Jason Bouman
Chardé Brouwer, 25 years old Dutch fashion & branding student at AMFI is continuously rethinking fabrics during the Textile Minor. Let’s have a look at the potential future of your outfits with her…
Thinking about new materials, what is the most important characteristic they should possess?
‘’Oh, definitely the durability and recyclability. The life-cycles of fabrics currently are devastating the environment and living circumstances for both people and animals. For the material to be pretty shouldn’t be the most important aspect. The need for responsible textiles to save the planet are a priority in my opinion.’’
Is it difficult to produce textiles that are 100% sustainable?
‘’Yes, the main problem is, that often making durable, moral textiles you can’t produce them in bulk. If you use bio-plastics for example, made out of several ingredients such as waste-spinach, you can’t wait for tons of spinach to be thrown away and then collected. That process simply is too inefficient. So, you create them on a smaller scale still not influencing the overall fashion industry.’’
What made you interested in working with bio-plastics?
‘’Working in the minor with a concept about the ‘afterlife’. I imagine to create textiles that people can wear when they have passed away and are buried in the ground. Burial sites require extremely large fields which results in deforestation. If the bodies would be wearing degradable, non-toxic bio-plastics with seeds in them, new trees and flowers will blossom. For me, this idea creates a double meaning behind the word afterlife. I’ve tried this before with the material and it worked out perfectly. The flowers are looking lovely in my bioplastic garden.’’
Are there any innovative aspects about the material that make it a candidate for textiles?
‘’There are. In bioplastic glycerine is incorporated as an ingredient to make the fabric smooth and bendable. Glycerine an energizer for the skin, so wearing the bioplastic would improve your health. Also, we won’t face the war against landfills with waste cotton anymore. The material degrades naturally.’’
Could bioplastic be used for underwear?
‘’Definitely! I even wanted to use the bioplastics for lingerie. However, making lingerie for a burial collection might seem a bit out of place. But I can make the fabric tentative and flexible. There would be no seams because the different parts are glued together. The technical aspect is therefore feasible. ‘’
If you think about the future, what dreamlike materials do you see occur?
‘’I know about so many crazy materials already, I wouldn’t know what to expect. Fish-leather, hairs, seaweeds, all of those are already proven to be runners for future textiles. I think that in the future certainly some fabrics will finally make it from niche to mass production. But for now, both consumers and production factories aren’t ready yet.’’
What does underwear mean to you, do you have anything in mind regarding fabrics?
‘’To me underwear is more functional than sexy. But I do believe that shapewear for instance, makes it more acceptable to show your underwear. People embrace underwear more. And I think for materials, it would be so cool to see bioplastic and latex underwear. Not the kinky-kind of latex though, but the softer one… haha.’’
Feeling intrigued? Not to worry, if you have a glimpse in Garment 2019’s Underwear Issue, you’ll have plenty more to read about bioplastics and its innovative traits.