Twist On Wool
Given the massive environmental impact of sourcing raw materials for the apparel industry, consumers and designers alike have been calling for ethically produced fibers, opening the door to creativity and innovation within the textile industry. With Werewool, a team of FIT students is attempting to develop an alternative fabric with the properties of wool. This team participated in the Biodesign Challenge, a competition for art and design students from top universities around the world to envision future applications of biotechnology.
The Werewool team explored an animal-free wool alternative generated from human skin, using synthetic biology to produce a new biomaterial fiber from proteins and enzymes. Once the students extracted the tubulin protein from the skin, they experimented with the enzyme transglutaminase to bond this self-assembling protein with the hopes of creating a new protein-based biomaterial. The result was a fiber that mimicked the properties of wool.