Man, you’re never going to believe what may soon be used to make clothes.
It’s a fabric made from cow poop.
On April 6, the H&M Foundation tapped five fashion innovators for its Global Change Award, a roughly $1.06 million prize celebrating sustainability through “game-changing ideas that can help reinvent the entire industry.”
One of those winners, Dutch artist and entrepreneur Jalila Essaidi, makes a textile jokingly referred to as “manure couture.” And yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.
Essaidi’s revolutionary fabric, Mestic, is made from the cellulose found in the dry components of cow manure. The wet materials in cow manure also contain acids necessary “to transform the cellulose into a new material,” she explained in a 2016 interview, meaning there’s even less waste of waste.
Essaidi explains on her website that the fabric serves as a way to reduce phosphate and nitrogen, two chemicals found in manure that harm the environment and, as of 2016, were in surplus in The Netherlands.
Refinery29 reports that the material itself does not smell like poop, and garments shown in a 2016 fashion show using Mestic really do look luxurious and wearable.
Essaidi is also the creator of Bulletproof Skin, “a project that achieved bioengineered bulletproof human skin reinforced with synthetic spider silk.”
In other words, she’s a total badass.
The prize money was awarded to “speed up the shift to a circular waste-free fashion industry,” according to a press release, and winners will participate in a year-long innovation accelerator to help them develop their ideas or products and connect them within the fashion industry.
While it remains to be seen how close to market Mestic will be after the year-long accelerator program, Essaidi’s intentions are clear. “I just want people to give a shit about the planet,” she said at the award ceremony in Stockholm Thursday.
While Mestic isn’t guaranteed to be sold at H&M or the company’s other retail businesses, a spokesperson told The Huffington Post that the point of the project is “to spur ideas that could have the potential to create a more sustainable fashion future,” adding, “Hopefully, they will be able to have an impact on the fashion industry as a whole.”
The future of fashion looks crappy, and we’re all for it.