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Published: 02 April 2016

By Andy Ross

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Clothes and decay

A few years ago now we were in Rotterdam and saw an exhibition which featured clothes on mannequins slowly disintegrating and growing moulds and mosses. 

Sadly we cannot remember who the artist was but the show has stuck in my memory because it was beautifully staged and the clothes, as they sagged and rotted away developed lovely patterns and bright colours organically. 

Now a Dutch designer Aniela Hoitink has done the opposite and come up with way to use the roots of mushrooms to grow textiles and create fabrics which can be made to specific shapes, eliminating waste, and making the fabrics easy to repair by simply growing more. The process means that the fabrics are compostable when they reach the end of their life too. 

While weaving will not disappear any time soon and this is an experiment to see how possible growing clothes is, this new process has fascinating implications for medicine because skin-tight fabrics could carry anti-microbial and anti-bacterial medications for direct application. You can read more about the project here