Application of Biomimicry in Textiles and Fashion
Shubham Anil Jain
Cent Edge Solutions LLP, Bangalore, India
A famous philosopher, Aristotle has said that “in all things of nature there is something of the marvelous,”. It is proven fact that nature has been an inspiration to the art, fashion, design world since from past. Whatever beauty is available in nature is designed with some particular functionality and a purpose. The world around us is totally covered and occupied by nature that offers and flourish ideas that exist and can be executed. Biomimicry, as the name itself suggests that “to imitate life”. The word is basically derived from the Greek word, that is “bios” and “mimesis” which is also known as biomimetics. It implements the use of the amaze of nature and its functioning for creating new innovative technology. It is found that many innovative textile products have been developed using biomimicry which has been explained in the article.
Application of Biomimicry in Textiles and Fashion:
Application of biomimicry in textiles and fashion involves emulating biological processes, structures, and systems to create innovative and sustainable solutions. Here are some application of biomimicry in textiles and fashion:
1. Fibre spinning:
For spinning continuous strands of synthetic fibers, nature is the inspiration. As we know silk, one of the oldest popular natural fibre to human civilization, is nothing but a continuous protein fibre which is developed by the silkworm. Basically, there are two main types of silkworm: mulberry silk which is also known as Bombyxmori and wild silk, of which Tussah is the most important representative. It is found that very superior quality silk fibre is also manufactured by some spiders belonging to the Arachnida family. As per the facts, there are over 34,000 species of spiders are available in nature and most of them are capable of spinning task-specific silk of varying mechanical properties. So, from this phenomenon of nature it has inspired and initiated the spinning process in textiles.
As we know that weaving is a kind of process by which threads or continuous strands of any substance are weaved and entangled so as to be developed into a perfectly expanded form, and primarily be used for covering human or other bodies. This weaving technology was invented many years ago. As per the facts fabrics were being produced around 20,000 years ago. The baya weaver (Ploceusphilippinus) who is a weaverbird which are specifically found across South and Southeast Asia. The male weaverbird creates its nest with the help of fibrous materials. They uses the weaving technique with the help of the leaves and other nesting materials to produce a strong nest. The baya weaver found to be the possible motivation for human weavers. It is found that the weaverbird nest is generally 15 cm long and 12 cm high and is usually suspended from a branch.
3. Effect of colour and camouflage element:
a) Mimicking Animal Camouflage: It is most common and popular application of biomimicry, where textiles has ability to change colour or pattern based on the environment, which is similar to the camouflage abilities of some animals, are being developed for applications majorly in fashion and military textiles.
b) Iridescence: The iridescence which is particularly observed in butterfly wings and peacock feathers has fueled the development of fabrics with changing colors, adding lot of aesthetic as well as impressive value to fashion designs.
4. Development of different sustainable material:
a) Biodegradable Materials: As per the researchers, they have explored ways to develop biodegradable textiles which are being inspired by natural materials. For example, if look the mushroom-based fabrics and plant-based fibers which simply decompose naturally are being developed as eco-friendly options to traditional textiles.
b) Magic of Recycling and Upcycling: If we observe the nature’s cycles of renewal and resource efficiency, it has inspired the development and amazement of sustainable fashion ideas. Now-a-days, designers are coming out with various ways to recycle and upcycle materials, mimicking the natural phenomenon to reduce waste in the fashion industry.
5. Smart textiles encouraged by nature:
a) Thermoregulation: There are various animals; those have who have special features to efficiently regulate their body temperature. So, simply applying this principle from animals like the toucan or desert beetles, experts have created textiles that has properties to regulate temperature, keeping the wearer cool or warm as they required.
b) Moisture Management: Desert coleopteran has accelerated the development as well as innovation of fabrics that copy their special feature to collect and distribute water droplets. This textile material can be used to manufacture clothing that efficiently deals with moisture management, keeping the wearer dry.
6. Innovative textile manufacturing:
a) 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing: It is clearly seen that, biomimicry principles are applied to 3D printing technologies, which allows the creation of intricate and efficient textile structures and designs that mimic natural forms.
b) Biofabrication: Experts are enhancing biofabrication techniques to uplift textiles from living organisms, like bacteria or fungi, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional textile production methods.
7. Structural design and creation:
a) Lightweight and Strong Materials: If we observe the structural design of materials in nature, like spider silk and bone, present as motivation for developing lightweight yet strong fabrics. This has suggestions for the development and enhancement of durable and high-performance textiles in fashion and sportswear sector.
b) Self Healing Materials: As per the self healing fabric design is concerned, it is inspired by nature’s healing mechanism particularly in mammalian tissue. Some organisms have natural power to heal wounds or repair damage. Researchers use this to explore different ways to create self-healing fabrics for fashion, and different sectors of textile which could reduce the environmental impact of garment by increasing its lifespan.
8. Hook-and-loop fastener:
Hook-and-loop fasteners are usually created of two strips; one consists with ‘loops’ that ‘hook’ onto the other strip. When the two components together and are pressed the hooks tends to catch in the loops and the two pieces fasten or bind the things temporarily. It is very popular in clothing where it tends to replaces buttons or zippers, as a shoe-fastener, in hand bags, etc. It was basically invented by Swiss engineer, Georges de Mestral in 1941. And the story behind this invention is one day when he was returning back from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps, he noticed one incident that the burrs (seeds) of burdock that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur. He studied the seeds with the help of a microscope, and noticed that they contained hundreds of hooks which could easily been fasten with loops, such as clothing, animal fur or hair. So, basically he was inspired by this phenomenon and invented hooks-and-loop fastener.
So, we can conclude that, textile structures and designs are similar in a number of ways to plants and animals found in the environment and surrounding. As we know that the basic building block of textiles is fibres. Nature also resembles various uses of fibers, from nanoscale collagen fibres in tendons to microscale wood fibres. In nature, fibres are being utilized in many diverse applications, including camouflage fabric to high-tenacity spider silk. Furthermore, most natural surfaces are found to be multi-functional. This is also desired in textile products: a proper natural interface between humans and their surroundings. There is lot of evidence to suggest that our ancestors also looked to nature for source of inspiration to conceive various materials and devices long before the term biomimetic (and similar phrases) was coined.
- Eadie, L. and Ghosh, T. K., Biomimicry in textiles: past, present and potential. An overview. J. R. Soc. Interface, 2011, 8, 761–775.
- Goss, J. M. A., Biomimicry: looking to nature for design solu-tions. Master’s thesis, Washington, DC, 2009
- Craik, J., The Fastskin Revolution: from human fish to swimming androids. Culture Unbound, 2011, 3, 71–82
- Abbott, A. and Ellison, M., Biological Inspired Textiles, Cam-bridge, 2008, pp. 137–148.
Q1. What fashion brands are biomimicry?
Ans: Some of the well-known brands that are already involved in research and development of biomimicry are H&M, Stella McCartney, Salvatore Ferragamo, and more.
Q2. Which fashion designers are inspired by nature?
Ans: It is found that the most renowned designers and brands around the world, such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Rahul Mishra, have various collections that reflect the essence and source of nature.
Q3. What are the 3 types of biomimicry?
Ans: The 3 types of biomimicry are
- Mimicking the form or function of nature
- Mimicking natural processes
- Mimicking natural systems
Q4. How is biomimicry can be applied in textiles and fashion?
Ans: It is simply been used in textiles and fashion by taking inspiration from nature’s various designs, patterns, and processes. It basically involves copying natural aspects to create sustainable and innovative materials, designs, and manufacturing techniques.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.