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Roya Aghighi Creates A Living Textile That Is Capable Of Photosynthesising


Biogarmentry by Roya Aghighi, is a transdisciplinary collaboration of synthetic biology, material science, and design as a way to open up possibilities for the future of fashion.

In order to tackle the complex issue of the textile and fashion industry, the project has found a special condition in clothing that users would connect to a living textile that is capable of photosynthesizing. Biogarmentry works on implementing a deeper and more holistic idea of change, creating new material while focusing on the transformation of our values, goals, and collective behaviors around our consumption-oriented habits capable of lowering waste and carbon emissions.


Born from a collaboration with AMPEL Lab and Botany Lab both from The University of British Columbia, the textile is a living-breathing material whose cellular respiration converts carbon dioxide into oxygen as plants do. By making textiles alive, clothes will become both physically and mentally present in user’s conscious and entice them to experience clothing in different ways.

Through these novel experiences, users will start to associate new meanings to clothing and build unique relationships with living garments. Since the life cycle of the living photosynthetic textile is directly dependent on how it is taken care of, caring for clothes would regain ascendance as a crucial part of the system while encouraging users to actively embrace habits that work to support the living textile to flourish.

Biogarmentry ultimately introduces a shift from traditional models of buy, use, and dispose to buy, care, and compost. Moreover, since keeping the garments alive needs effort, users would buy less to manage to keep them alive. This helps to slow down the textile consumption and fast fashion. This project proposes the design of a photosynthetic textile not only as a step towards limiting our negative contributions to the environment, but also offers an entry point to the public for speculating on the future of textiles.

By looking at materials as building blocks of the design process, we can open up possibilities for alternative systems of production and consumption. Could a textile live and breathe, clean the air while worn on the body? Can we learn to care for our clothes in ways that keep them alive so they can reach their full utilization potential? Can an innovative textile generate momentum for radical thinking? Now in a world where textile is alive, how would it change your relationship to your clothing?



All images with courtesy of Roya Aghighi


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