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Beer and bacteria dress to debut in Milan

A dress grown from beer and bacteria is set to premiere at the World Expo 2015 in Milan.

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This dress is made from beer. Credit: Adam Scott

Created by Perth-based creative scientist Gary Cass and fashion designer Donna Franklin, the dress was made by adding bacteria to fermented beer to create cotton-like fibers, as reported by ScienceWA.net.

Dubbed “fermented fashion” the result is a unique fabric similar to cotton known as Nanollose microbial cellulose. Explaining how it is made Cass said: “You add a bacteria called Acetobacter, which is a naturally found, friendly, non-infectious, non-harmful bacteria, into the liquid beer. That bacteria will ‘drink’ the beer and then convert the beer liquid into a solid fibre.”

This latest dress is not the pair’s first foray into fermented fashion. Cass first discovered he could create the fabric in the 1990s when he accidentally left a vat of wine open while working at a vineyard, allowing oxygen in and Acetobacter to grow.

“[The bacteria] got in, we forgot to look at it for a week and within the week we had converted 10,000 litres of wine into this mat that we’re now using to make dresses from,” Mr Cass said.

However while their original wine dress had to be kept wet at all times and smelt of wine, the beer dress is flexible when dry and has no smell, insists Mr Cass.

“This really now opens it up for the fashion industry and for commercialisation”, said Mr Cass.

The pair’s beer dress will be showcased at Expo Milan 2015 in May where more than 140 countries will showcase various cutting edge technology.

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