Kombutex is an interdisciplinary project that was born from the desire to create more circular material solutions in the fashion industry. It explores biobased alternatives to synthetics and leather in the textiles industry. Taking inspiration from nature, it looks at how bacterial cellulose and biobased polymers can be combined and processed to create fully biodegradable textiles.
The textiles industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Largely petroleum-based, textile products end up in landfills or the ocean where they take hundreds of years to biodegrade, shed microplastics, and exhibit toxic effects. Although we are exhibiting a product, the ethos of the project is to explore and promote a more holistic and nature-inspired approach to science, design, and industry in general.
Bacterial cellulose (BC) is a waste product of kombucha brewing, a 3D nanofibrillar biopolymer that consists of pure cellulose fibres. It is free of lignin, hemicellulose, and pectin present in plant cellulose. BC has structural and mechanical properties different to those of plant cellulose with advantages such as a unique interconnected structure, high crystallinity and high Young’s modulus.
Guoda Treciokaite is a material scientist with a focus on material design. Her interdisciplinary work falls at the intersection of biodesign, textiles and material innovation. Her work was exhibited at Dutch Design Week in 2020 and her project Kombutex won the Circular by Design Award in Luxembourg in 2021.