Future of Fashion: Fabric From Microbial Cellulose - Nanollose

We have recently learned about the innovative dying with microorganisms by Pili and today let's find out more about the innovative cellulose fabric by Nanollose. Cellulose fibers known as Rayon, Viscose, Modal, Bamboo, Lyocell (Tencel) are made from the tree pulp, which means that lots of trees must be cut in order to produce them. However, company Nanollose is developing innovative proprietary technologies relating to the production, processing and applications of microbial nanocellulose, which have the potential to effect change in the global cellulose industry and to offer an environmentally sustainable alternative to plantbased cellulose materials.

What is Nanollose and how did you create it?

Did you know that today we cut down trees to extract a compound called cellulose? This cellulose is chemically extracted and then regenerated into fibres that go in to making fabrics called rayon/viscose that largely go into making clothes. Nanollose is an Australian future tech company that has discovered and developed a technology around a new source of cellulose that can create the same fibres that can go into making the same clothes, so tomorrow we will be able to cut down much less trees to make the same clothes.

This new cellulose comes from bacterial microbes called Microbial Cellulose (MC). The production process is very simple. Our cellulose is produced by these microbes converting liquid bio-mass waste products from coconuts beer, sugar, and liquid food streams into what we term plant-free & tree-free cellulose, we then apply our technology to convert the MC into fibres. In May this year, we manufactured our fibre on a pilot scale and that resulted in making our fibre in to a yarn and then into a fabric for the first time, marking a significant breakthrough for Nanollose and the textile industry.

These fibre and fabric products were produced using standard industrial equipment currently used by fibre and textile manufacturers. This means that no major retro-fitting of machinery or processing is required for future partners using our fibre and fabric, a huge advantage for the commercial uptake of our technology!Many great discoveries have come about serendipitously. Nanollose all started with one of our founder’s, agricultural scientist Gary Cass, having an “Opps moment” while working at a vineyard. He accidently flooded a vat of wine with oxygen that spoilt the batch. What remained was vinegar and on the top of the vat a thick red wine jelly. This jelly had the appearance of leather, as he is a creative thinker, this interesting medium sparked the idea that evolved into an art project and eventually in to a dress made from wine. Since then there has been other iterations and art projects using Beer and Champagne. Almost 10 years after creating this first wine dress, we are now forging towards the commercialisation of the business and aim to make significant progress in penetrating the textile industry over the next 12 months!

Why are you doing Nanollose?

I wanted to change a gear in my career by becoming an ambassador of change to an industry that I love and has given me so much. It’s easy to sit back and point fingers or remain idle and just admit we need a change. As you would know running Amberoot, brands, retailers and manufactures are urgently seeking sustainable alternatives raw materials.

Rayon and cotton fibre, both have significant environmental challenges. By comparison, no trees or plants are impacted, and no further chemical production is needed to produce our fibres. We truly believe our fibre product will assist super users in cleaning up the clothing industry and spur further industry betterment.

I mentioned before, our technology is easily retrofitted into current textile and clothing production methods, which is a bonus.

What sustainable fashion projects are you excited about?

I get excited about a lot of what I am seeing. Behind the scenes there are a lot of things going on in the raw material development, manufacturing/processing space. Great companies are emerging like Bolt Threads, Orange Fibre, Colorifix, Colorzen, Mango Materials, etc. These companies along with Nanollose are truly bringing sustainable alternatives to the forefront and in some cases are going to challenge the norm of how we make and procure raw materials.

I also get excited about what some brands & retailers are doing. Having sustainability credibility is important. In cases it is all about going after and doing the right thing rather than being told to do it. I believe these companies are not only being responsible but also future proofing their business along with pushing the envelope of legislation and standards. I can’t really mention brands for legal reasons, let’s just say that I am enthused about what I see in the designer, outdoor, athleisure, and active sports world along with some retailers.

They are “talking the green talk & walking the green walk”

How do you see the future of fashion?

There are so many definitions of the word Fashion. One thing for certain is that it has always been a powerful dynamic of influence and change. It influences, it is being influenced, it reinvents itself and then the cycle begins again, but with a definite change from the previous state. It does highlight and bring attention to what is emerging, a trend, style or opinion. By in large it’s usually associated with what we wear but these days there are a lot more facets to fashion than ever before. It used to be more of a dictatorship whereas today it is a mix of democracy and individualism that morphs into and forms the new. Choices on technology, social media, food preferences etc. all dove tail into the “new influences.”

Good, bad or indifferent fashion is a type of lens into the future. I see the future of fashion being around knowledge. This is the new basis of storytelling that gives customers a broader lens and insights to make choices. And I believe that today, regardless of generation categories, people want to make up their own minds and I think everyone wants to make greener choices.

Anything else you'd like to add?

The breakthrough of our technology warranted a name for our fibre. We proudly named it NULLARBOR Fibre after the great Australian road. Most people ask is our choice of name due to us being Australian? The simple answer - not really. A little known fact about the word Nullarbor is that its origins are Latin. It is the merger of two words “Nullus-Arbor meaning no trees.

It’s a deeper meaning that has touched many people.

What do you think of Nanollose? Share your thoughts by tweeting us @Amberoot, or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Read this article in French here.


This article is part of the article series "Future of Fashion":

AlgiKnit - Kelp Fibre
Nanollose - Fabric From Microbial Cellulose
Bolt Threads - Spider Silk & Mushroom Leather Mylo
Pili - Dyeing Using Microorganisms
Mango Materials - Biodegradable Polyester
Mestic Fibre - Cow Dung Fibre
Orange Fibre - Fibre From Orange Skins
Zoa Leather - Bioengineered Animal Leather
QMilk - Milk Fibre
MycoTex - Mushroom Mycelium Fibre

bamboo fabric | biodegradable | cellulose yarn | cellulosic fibre | compostable | Future of Fashion Series | lyocell | microbes | microbial | nullarbor | rayon | tencel | tree | tree fibre | tree textile | viscose

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