Wine Forming Fashion, literally

There are few things that I love more than wine, science, and fashion. Recently, a collaboration between Donna Franklin, a contemporary textile artist, and Gary Cass, a scientist at the University of Western Australia, has resulted in beautiful fabrics made from wine and other alcoholic beverages. They are hoping their Micro’be’ material could revolutionize organic fashion.

To briefly outline the basic science– They used Acetobacter bacteria to ferment wine and other alcohols into fabrics. This fermentation resulted in cellulose fibrils. Cellulose, a polymer of glucose units, is simply a long chain of sugar. This research is not yet ready to be commercialized, but has some definite advantages and disadvantages.

Cellulose - from

One global research focus is to make everything more ‘green’. Creating and using materials that are environmentally friendly is a hot topic spanning many fields of science including chemistry and microbiology. However, making green materials isn’t limited to just science, other industries have been actively working toward this ubiquitous goal as well (i.e. automotive, textiles, etc.). These biodegradable, organic dresses produce their own color and structure. Therefore, manufacturing costs would be minimal due to lack of machinery and labor necessary to create the garment.

There are a few distinct disadvantages. Let’s just say it: the dress smells like a hangover. Stale alcohol is certainly one of the last scents I want to wear around all day. That being said if you come into work after a ‘late’ night out, then you can use the outfit as an excuse . Another disadvantage at this point in development is the material’s flexibility. Chemical trials are underway to increase the overall movement of this new material. Finally, the team is working on scaling the production to ensure its widespread availability.

A dress fermented from red wine (red fabric) and beer (translucent fabric).

This preliminary project is pretty fascinating and definitely something to keep up with. Check out their website for more details.


Source of information and pictures.


Jacqueline, a true Floridian, wandered up to the tundra of Athens, Georgia to receive her PhD in computational quantum chemistry. Returning to her roots, she is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Tampa in the field of computational biochemistry investigating the wonders of penicillin-like drugs. When she is not slaving over the computer, her varied interests include international travel, Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, fancy food, (American) football, and Belgian quadrupels. She is also the founder of, a football blog with an exclusive female writing staff. Check out her sports ramblings there or follow her on Twitter @jhargis9.

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  1. That fabric may be green, but it looks ugly and uncomfortable, which means that unless some serious changes happen to it, it won’t really catch on. Also, did it stain her skin in the second picture?

    1. In the photo shoot of the bottom picture, they had some odd animal paint on the rest of their body. So I don’t think it is the color coming off on the skin. I can’t be certain though.

      Also, in general, I think this is a test run. They are working on improving the material for greater appeal. The methodology is the interesting part here.

  2. This is a gimmick.

    Using wine to make cellulose is incredibly inefficient. Wine just doesn’t contain that much glucose. Meanwhile cotton is already made of cellulose. How on earth would using wine be better than just using cotton? How is this any greener than linen or any other plant-based fiber?

    Gimmick. Ignore.

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