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Student made eco-friendly fabric from her kitchen

A student has produced an eco-friendly fabric made from mostly household ingredients.

Shuang Cao
Shuang Cao, BA Fashion Design

Shuang Cao, a Fashion Design student from Nottingham Trent University, used ingredients such as water, sugar, apple cider vinegar, tea bags and kombucha SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

The ingredients are mixed in a plastic container and left to sit for two weeks. After two weeks the mixture turns into a clay-like substance known as a ‘mat’. Once the mat reaches the desired thickness, it is then taken out, washed, and spread flat on a wooden surface. The fabric can be cut and sewn like any other fabric.

Shuang, 24, of Shijiazhuang in China, said: “This project is about environmental pollution and fashion waste. It is undeniable that the waste of the fashion industry is huge, and the impact on environmental pollution cannot be underestimated.

eco-friendly fabric
Shuang's eco-friendly fabric

“I believe it’s the designer’s duty to reduce the waste as much as possible, that’s why I wanted to create a fabric that is degradable causing as little impact on the environment as possible,” she added.

Shuang’s design is not limited to clothing, however. Shuang has used the materials to create accessories like belts, purses, and even business cards.

She plans to develop the technology further and aims to use this fabric to create ‘everyday clothing’.

Shuang’s design was shown at the recent Nottingham Trent University’s art and design degree show 2019.

“It’s really amazing that the work we’ve worked so hard on, can be displayed publicly, and potentially, I could network with companies. The degree show has been a really great opportunity,” says Shuang.

The Show featured works by more than 1,300 graduating artists across 26 courses. Representing a new wave of talent – skilled and ready to shape our future creative industries.

Emma Prince, BA (Hons) Fashion Design course leader at Nottingham Trent University, said; “Shuang has taken an original approach to her fabric designs, and created something sustainable and imaginative!”

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 88% satisfaction score in the 2018 National Student Survey.

    NTU is also one of the UK’s most environmentally friendly universities, containing some of the sector’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    NTU is home to world-class research, and won The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 – the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage; enable safer production of powdered infant formula; and combat food fraud.

Published on 10 July 2019
  • Category: Press office; School of Art & Design