The Netherlands – Designed by Royal College of Art student Yuhan Bai, the Soil Project clothing collection features naturally dyed vintage garments paired with a newly developed soil-based leather alternative.
Presented at Dutch Design Week 2022, the innovative textile mimics the look and feel of animal leather and is highly flexible like silicone. But it is manufactured using simple, cheap and natural ingredients only. Bai experimented with soil until she came up with a proprietary mix of soil, gelatin, agar, starch, glycerin, gluten and water, which is boiled and poured into a thin mould to achieve the sleek, leather-like finish of the material. ‘The method of making this kind of material is similar to cooking food; many of its formulas and composition are derived from food and the nature of the goods,’ says Bai about her process.
Consumers are increasingly scrutinising the plant-based leather alternatives that fashion brands are using, wary of PVC-based, fragile or costly options. As such, more designers are introducing lines using biomaterials like Bai’s soil leather, which stands out with its energy-efficient and natural transformation process.
Nature-respecting and low-cost biomaterials will play a big role in material futures as they are scaling up. Can your business promote the replacement of animal hides or pleather by innovative biomaterials?