Sustainable Design: Designer Turns Sour Milk Into Silky Fabric
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German micro-biologist and fashion designer Anke Domaske has developed a silky textile material using sour milk which she calls Qmilch.
Domaske uses Casein, the protein found in milk and a key ingredient in cheese to produce the fabric. She says the use of milk as a fabric goes further back in history than you might expect.
"Germans in the 1930s discovered that the protein has the potential to be spun into a fiber, but it was made with formaldehyde," she told Fast Company.
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Domaske aims to help people rethink the way they view the role of milk and dairy products in their lives.
"Milk is underrated because people only view it as a foodstuff but you can make a lot more from it," she said in a interview with DW-TV. "Milk is a wonderful natural raw material. The special thing about milk fiber is that it has a lovely silky feel. the fabric falls wonderfully and it's cheaper than normal silk, but it's also made from protein so you can wash it."
Domaske and her team tested different variations and mixtures for years before settling on a protein derived from sour milk that would normally be thrown out. She says Qmilch is a much more environmentally friendly material than those normally used.
"See milk fiber as an alternative to cotton. we can manufacture it with out pesticides and it only takes an hour to produce," Domaske told DW-TV. "It's very environmentally friendly and saves resources."
For as long as she can remember Domaske has juggled her duel interests in fashion design and science. Studying micro-biology by day while launching her own fashion line by night. her first collection came out in 2003
Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response, Domaske is taking her first milk fiber collection on the road this summer. She says she's also planing to unveil a line of Qmilch clothing for men in the near future.
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