Many of the St Cuthbert’s staff and students who travel the basement level corridors of the Information Centre have been complaining about an odd smell in the air this term. It’s not someones lunch that’s been left out, or a spilt drink. It is in fact a Textiles Technology project. Year 8 students have had their ideas around Textiles Technology turned upside down this term, as Miss Shearer sets them the task of growing their own fabric from yeasts and bacterias. The smell is apple cider vinegar, which along with sugar, green tea, and a starter culture, begins a fermentation process. Students are essentially making a fermented tea called Kombucha, and using the layer of SCOBY that grows on top to create a completely renewable, biodegradable textile product. The idea is the brainchild of British designer Suzanne Lee, and while she came up with the idea in 2001, it is still unheard of in the mainstream. Our students are exploring new and innovative ideas around how fashion could be created in the future, and are some of the only students anywhere to be doing so. Slimy and stinky? Maybe. But pioneering the future of fashion? Definitely.
Year 13 student Claudia Clatworthy is also growing her own fabric, as part of her major project. She has experiemented with ways of achieving different colours, textures, and scents as she develops her SCOBY bomber jacket. This jacket will be complete later in the year.