Geedanjana Inthirakumaran was shocked to learn how damaging the manufacturing process of textile could be, and was determined to investigate more ecologically sound methods of creating materials for her final year textile collection.
“As much as textiles can be beautiful, the processes produce a lot of CO2 emissions, due to dying, printing or manipulation,” said Geedanjana, who is from Milton Keynes.
“Most of the time the fabric itself is made using harsh processes that either harm animals or nature.
“As a student, I realised how much damage I was doing when creating my own textiles previously, especially keeping in mind I am just one person out of many involved in the fashion industry.”
Geedanjana decided to turn to biotextiles, which are less damaging to produce and are also biodegradable.
She sought the expert advice of the University’s science and textile teams, and working in the textiles workshop, Geedanjana devised a way to create her own biodegradable plastic from water, agar powder and glycerine and vegan food colouring.
The ingredients are mixed, heated and, after being left to dry, create sheets of plastic.
The mixture can also be poured into moulds during the drying process to create bespoke patterns, textures and shapes. The textiles pieces and mouldings can be further developed for clothing and accessories, including bags.
Geedanjana said: “It was exciting to be able to create something which I think will be in demand in the future.
We already see that agar plastic bags are a thing, and many small businesses are researching and working on improving the qualities of this plastic. Biotextiles may be the only textiles we know in the future.”