The TEAbag is made of microbial cellulose – a grown culture of bacteria and yeast. It is formed naturally by a fermentation process with organic tea. When harvested, dried and dyed, the material gets a soft, leather like appearance. But without harming animals and completely biodegradable.
This project aims to seek a balance between people’s need for variety in their wardrobe as a form of personal expression and the urge to avoid highly wasteful or harmful materials. The material degrades over time, but lasts two years in good dry conditions. Roughly the time people enjoy a fashion item.
The biofabrication process itself also offers environmental advantages. The material takes on the shape of the container it grows in. As a result, the highly wasteful step of cutting a sheet for pattern-making can be eliminated from the process. Because the bag was created while the material was not yet completely dried, the bag could be made without seaming or other additives. Instead, the high adhesive properties of the material were used during the final drying stage.
The material is dyed with a natural color extract of beetroot, giving the bag it’s warm deep-red color.