The Green Movement has its roots in ideologies and value systems, but it seems that the philosophy has spread into all aspects of our day-to-day lives. From Seventh Generation products being sold in mega grocery stores to restaurant chains using high-efficiency dual- flush toilets, green is becoming mainstream – slowly, but fortunately it is happening.

Emerging from this movement are exciting ways to make products without damaging our planet. Creative, innovative, and often extraordinary, these new methods and practices challenge the conventions that we have come to accept as a society. Perhaps sustainability is more than just an idea – maybe it can become a reality.

BioCoture by Suzanne Lee

Eco fashion is an example of one of these new innovations. Sustainable fashion (sometimes called Greenwear) employs practices that do little or no harm to the environment. The term is multilayered: whether referring to organic materials, fair trade and sweatshop free methods, or vegan products and facilities, eco fashion is making a name for itself on the

But some designers are taking this pivotal moment to make enormous change, using new and largely unexplored science to completely alter the impact of fashion on the environment. Suzanne Lee, for example, has started a movement known as BioCouture: the harnessing of laboratory-grown microbial-cellulose to grown clothes. In essence, textiles made by science.

BioCouture received some well-deserved recognition when Lee spoke at the TED talks this year about her movement. She explains, “I’m essentially using a kombucha recipe, which is a symbiotic mix of bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms, which spin cellulose in a fermentation process. Over time, these tiny threads form in the liquid into layers and
produce a mat on the surface.

BioCoture by Suzanne Lee

Lee goes on to say, “… We only grow what we need. There’s no waste… What I’m not suggesting is that microbial cellulose is going to be a replacement for cotton, leather, or other textile materials. But I do think it could be quite a smart and sustainable addition to our increasingly precious natural resources.

Microbial cellulose technology has been in use  before Lee took advantage of it for fashion’s sake. In fact, this cellulose has been integral in medical advancements, including its use as a soft tissue replacement and as artificial blood cells.

But Suzanne Lee is the first I’ve heard of to use cellulose for fashion. Her innovation and dedication is inspiring, and her efforts are helping to make the often wasteful and dangerous fashion industry into a slightly greener field.

You may not be in the position to grow your own clothes, but making any effort toward purchasing sustainable clothing is crucial. Even if it means buying second-hand, your actions count and matter.

Imagine growing a lamp, a chair, a car, or maybe even a house,” Lee says. “I guess my question to you is: in the future, what would you choose to grow?”

-Jessica Nicholson

Watch her TED talk here: