Creating fabric out of a biodegradable material like SCOBY could drastically reduce waste from discarded garments. If it could eventually be a substitute for traditional materials like cotton—a thirsty crop reliant on pesticides—the environmental benefit would be enormous. Furthermore, Hossain is exploring whether the biomaterial could replace leather, whose production not only pollutes but also raises ethical concerns.
In April 2017, Hossain presented a hand-sewn dress with stitched pockets, created from SCOBY, at FIT’s Fashion Design AAS exhibition. The following April, the dress was showcased at Genspace Pregame Night at Caveat NYC, a performance venue in downtown Manhattan, and it appeared in SciArt Magazine—a digital publication dedicated to science-based art, cross-disciplinary conversation, STEAM, and innovation—in June 2018.
Hossain has been refining her SCOBY biomaterial, growing the biomaterial with different colors, in different temperatures, and even under UV radiation—all of which could drastically alter the function of the resulting fabric.