Eco-Conscious Brides to Grow Their Own Dresses Out of Fungus, Compost

In Depth

Are you interested in sustainable food and fashion? Do you have a deep and unclouded desire to make your wedding more special than anyone else’s? Are you trying to unironically get away with mason jar candles at your reception even though they were over in 2012? Yes? Then consider growing your own dress out of fungus and fermented “material,” which looks (and probably smells) like delicious Kombucha.

The Guardian has a piece on a dress grown entirely out of fungus. While this sounds like it could take years to do, contrary to my popular beliefs (I know very little actual science) a wedding gown made of tree mulch and white fungus (plus compost and other waste) only takes about a week to grow. The question, then, is not “is it possible,” but “would you wear it?”

Erin Smith, who’s currently an artist in residence at Microsoft Research created the fungus dress and she says that the current model of buying and storing gowns is unsustainable. What will you do with a gown once it’s worn? Why not compost the entire thing and call it a day?

From The Guardian:

“The concept behind a grown wedding dress was to take a one-time-use object and rethink its construction in order to have an appropriate material lifespan. The average cost of a wedding dress in the US is roughly $1,200 (£792) and can contain nearly 12 yards (11m) of fabric,” explains Smith, adding that making the fashion chain circular not only brings us closer to the environment but also reflects how needless our consumption habits are: “The wedding dress is a perfect example of a one-time-use, energy intensive and entirely non-sustainable model that is representative of so many of the choices that we make daily.”

That’s a good point, but looking through the fungus-grown leather (and other materials) that Smith and her contemporaries have made doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in this method of producing clothes. While a wedding dress such as Smith’s would be practical, most people don’t purchase the gowns for their practicality but because of the fantasy and romance they promise. So, yes, wearing a fungown might be good for the environment, even the most eco-savvy bride might frown upon entering her reception in a dress made of waste. (Smith’s gown, by the way, is not pictured.)

Image via Shutterstock

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