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United Matters
Riina Ă•un
www.riinao.com

Crafting Organic Waste For Fashion

3D viewing room
Crafting Organic Waste For Fashion
Photography by Yao Wang
This project is part of United Matters

Exploring how waste Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) generated from the kombucha drink industry can be re-processed into a new, more sustainable, vegan, leather-like material.

For ethical reasons, people often opt for non-animal derived products made of so-called “vegan leather”, unaware that it is just greenwashed PVC and PU-based plastic which is very harmful to the environment.

As an alternative, I have developed a new material which utilises the waste bacterial cellulose generated by local kombucha producers. It is called SCOBY-compo.

Through extensive experimentation and the use of natural oils and waxes, the material I have developed is water-resistant, flexible and strong. The result is a commercial, market-ready product that I can create in large quantities as a viable alternative for the fashion industry.

To evidence the viability of my material, I have crafted a collection of bags and purses that each demonstrate a different technique for production - from traditional stitching to modular assembly and liquid moulding.

Working closely with local communities, my aim is to create a fully circular system where the organic waste material can be harvested, processed, sold and eventually home composted and, rather than contaminating the environment, nurture it.