What happens when you merge the talents of an Australian creative scientist and fashion designer? Your favorite beverage becomes a wardrobe statement piece.
Enter the beer dress: the brainchild of Gary Cass and Donna Franklin, who worked together to develop the frothy frock using fermented beer and bacteria. How does it work? When introduced to beer, a non-harmful Acetobacter bacteria absorbs the suds and converts the liquid into a solid material similar to cotton—which Cass calls “Nanollose microbial cellulose.”
With those fermented fibers in hand, Donna was free to design a dress inspired by the beloved beverage. The intricate beading alludes to the bubbles in a pint of beer and the skirt’s petal details nod at the floral appearance of fresh hops. The runway-ready beer dress is considerably more successful than the duo’s earlier experiment involving red wine. An attempt at a fermented wine dress resulted in a sour-smelling gown that had to be kept moist—not ideal for fashionistas who prefer not to leave a trail of red wine in their wake.
Pleasantly dry and pliant, the beer dress material presents exciting new potential for the fashion industry and the future of fabrics. In May, the dress will make its debut at the World Expo 2015 in Milan, where countries from around the globe introduce their latest technological developments.