Sacha Laurin’s day job is the master cheese maker for the Winters Cheese Company, but her passion is kombucha couture.
“People look at it and aren’t really sure what it is. ‘Is it metal? Is it paper? Is it skin?'” Laurin said.
It’s none of that. It’s living, sustainable fabric made of kombucha – or fermented tea.
Laurin compared her likened her process to her day job.
“I boil green tea and then add a special culture, that actually is similar to cheese, which is how I got into it,” she said. “I’m fascinated by the science.”
She is creating a line of living haute couture, crossing fermentation with eco-friendly fashion. To do so, she uses something called SCOBY – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The enzymes grow to the size of the surface they’re living on and ultimately become a mat of cellulose that, when dried, mimics leather.
SCOBY is also known as “mother,” for its ability to reproduce.
“I can either overlay this onto fabric or keep growing it until it becomes really thick,” Laurin said. “So, it’s like vegan leather.”
She uses the stuff to make everything from jewelry to clothing to even neck ties.