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7 The Future of Living Materials;

Most of us are aware that the current global fashion system is one of the most destructive, exploitative, and unsustainable industries. Its gigantic scale and, at the same time, our daily complicity makes it hard to imagine that this is going to change in the near future drastically. So how to imagine fashion changing?

The Future of Living Materials starts to critically and actively engage with this question by going back to the essentials, namely the material itself. In different research settings, the project investigates new ‘living’ materials: bio-based materials from waste, textiles from micro-organisms, and plant-based fibres. This new approach of familiar, living materials is geared towards a sustainable fashion system: from an alternative to leather to creating organic colouring techniques. In doing so, The Future of Living Materials is developing a new imagination and aesthetics, which is essential for the transition to a circular economy and society.

The project was central in the first edition of the international event State of Fashion, organised in Arnhem. The first outputs of the project were exhibited at the Dutch Design Week and CLICKNL. In addition, the project was part of the International Textile Fair Avantex and Bankgiro Loterij Fonds ‘Radical Imagination Talks’. Driven by an alliance of fashion and product designers, scientists, and MA students, The Future of Living Materials provides an example of how artistic and design research con-
tributes to coming up with solutions to current challenges and is central to proposing societal change.

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