Design and Technology KS3/4: Growing clothes in a lab

Designer Amy Congdon is using living materials like bone tissue and bacteria to grow new products.

She hopes her new biotechnological material will cut the carbon footprint of the fashion industry, because it is fully biodegradable.

She tells scientist and presenter Fran Scott that she imagines it first being used for items such as jewellery and clothing, but later developed into a much wider range of products.

In the future many materials could be grown from cells, rather than made.

The clip includes the demonstration of a method suitable for students to grow their own material in the classroom.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used to assist students in understanding the value of products that can biodegrade.

Kits are available to try growing bacteria as presented in the clip using live Kombuch culture.

It is also possible to make casein in the classroom using milk and vinegar.

It can be formed into any shape, including into a sheet, and can be cut and drilled.

It will demonstrate the versatility of 'making' a material from scratch and give students experience of a biodegradable material.

GCSE students could include the biodegradable material, as demonstrated in the clip, in the making of their product.

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in AQA, OCR A, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.