This is really in its infancy, is not it?
I’m still very focused on clothing and luxury goods, jewelry, things that use small amounts of material. The laboratory equipment are quite expensive and are not being produced in large volume. However, the resources you need are just a few microbes that multiply and feed on the waste. Your costs are literally nothing once it is established.
So how do you do, for example, a shirt?
We have space where we keep the leaves moist growing bacteria. Once you are ready, cut and sew together in my designs. The result is not very different from the skin. It is flexible, and body heat softens when you wear it.
Are you a biologist or a fashion designer?
I’m not myself, creating organisms’m thinking about what we can introduce genetically functionality, with a consumer application in mind. I have several scientists with whom I work. I go to them and say, “How can we get this quality?” You can program the biodegradability of the same: “I want this to last three months”, or three years. If you can program, answers to questions about the sustainability of mass consumption.
Would it ever replace leather, in practical terms?
An animal has, in terms of earth and pesticides, an imprint. Leather manufacturing process is toxic. And if I had to compare our material jacket with cotton, ours has 50 liters of water, and the other carries thousands of gallons. We can potentially solve many of the problems that way.
Their employees are very very small.
Invisible, indeed! I do not say much about my next projects; things are taking a little longer than expected. But I would love to grow a shoe.