Can the Food Chain Be Turned Into Clothing Material?

Nidiya Kusmaya is extracting colours from the food she eats every day, and by applying them on textile she aims to turn the food chain into clothing. She utilizes most of the waste leftovers to extract the colours, and uses carbohydrates and proteins based leftovers as growth medium for microorganisms, that will act as a colour producer.

©Nidiya Kusmaya

She was part of the Dutch What if Lab project, where Dutch and Indonesian designers were challenged to design for sustainable solutions to daily problems.

“I started experimenting with colours for textiles by utilizing kitchen scraps, and farmer's market leftovers. Having food leftovers is still a problem itself, and the textile and fashion industries, especially in the coloring process, are the second most polluting in the world.”

Currently Nidiya is doing research in using kitchen waste and other uncommon materials, such as micro fungus and bacteria, as colorant for textiles that are environmentally friendly. She also travels a lot to rural areas and Islands in Indonesia to educate and teach the craft people to explore new possibilities of natural dyeing for textile.  

“Fashion is very closely related to everyday lifestyles. By contributing to a sustainable fashion movement, we can have great positive impact. As designers we can start small, pay attention to the details in our everyday life, and change it into the best version of it.“