Biomimicry in Fashion
What is biomimicry?
It is an approach to design that aims to understand and emulate nature in the unsustainable human world. This is done by offering empathetic connections with, and learning from the environment while being guided by its natural strategies and processes, all in an attempt to solve human design flaws.
The three elements of biomimicry
According to the Institute of Biomimicry, the three pillars essential to implementing Biomimicry are
Emulate - focus on mimicking the forms, processes, strategies, and ecosystems found in nature.
Ethos - in this context, it is the understanding of nature and life that guides the design and ultimately helps support our lives every day.
(Re)Connect - approaching nature, spending time, and observing it with empathy in order to facilitate effective emulation of nature
Biomimicry in fashion- the problem
The fashion industry has faced an issue with sustainability and green clothing for decades, with respect to the use of synthetic fibres and dyes and the lack of a recycling solution. Harmful effects of these, while are yet to be discovered in the long term, are already burdening landfills and releasing micro-plastics into the environment, especially water bodies and marine life.
Biomimicry in fashion- Why is it needed?
Biomimicry can essentially solve these problems by emulating nature at all stages of production. An entire supply chain could be modelled after the mechanisms of an ecosystem to promote circularity in an economy. Dyeing and manufacturing processes could utilise substances and materials that leave little to no impact on the environment. The possibilities are endless, just like taking inspiration from nature has been and will always be.
Examples of biomimicry in fashion
So far, there are many pioneers in the fashion industry looking to disrupt the market by introducing biomimetic products. Biodegradable yarn produced by algae, high-performance fabrics modelled after the texture of shark skin, and long-lasting bacterial dyes are a few such products that lead the way forward.