Biomimetic textiles draw inspiration from nature, and include water-repellent fabric based on lotus plant morphology and fabrics with pores that open and close like pine cones. Now Katie Ledger, M.A., London College of Fashion, is mimicking snakes’ and insects’ ecdysis (skin shedding) with fabric designed to be discarded, one layer at a time.
Ledger’s project, Shed Me Clothes, sought an alternative to laundering, which requires energy consumption and produces pollutant loading to water resources. Ledger began with spacer fabric layers of cotton knit and connected them using water-soluble yarn on a Stoll knitting machine. The fabric’s top layer can be sprayed with water, which dissolves the yarn and allows the layer to peel away. Shed clothing layers can be composted, until the garment is discarded. As Ledger moves into her Ph.D. level, she will continue research into construction, materials, prototyping, disposability and consumer attitudes.