A world without synthetic dyestuffs. This is the thought that came to the designers’ mind when creating “Living Colour”. Until the mid-19th century all textiles were dyed with natural pigments – plants and microorganisms were the two main sources. However, due to the dependence on location factors and the limited colour range of vegetable dyes, the textile industry today almost exclusively uses chemical dyes, some of which are toxic. Often, these are not only detrimental to humans and the environment but are additionally derived from non-renewable resources such as crude oil.

“Living Colour” is already a household name at KEYHOUSE and Sustainable Innovations: as early as two seasons ago the designers Laura Luchtman and Ilfa Siebenhaar already presented a promising attempt to multiply bacteria by high sound frequencies and make them create patterns on textile surfaces by means of vibration.

To this end they placed petri dishes with bacteria and fabrics right on loudspeakers in order to produce the biggest effect possible and controlled the sound level using a special software. The resulting, spontaneous irregularities are somehow reminiscent of batik.

One year later the second step of project evolution followed: the designer ssucceeded in controlling the bacteria to such anextent that they managed to dye a bigger piece of cloth evenly. This was a breakthrough that makes dyeing processes with bacteria increasingly attractive for the industry. It comes as no surprise therefore that the first collaborations with other designers and companies are underway.

The benefits of this innovative process: dyeing with bacteria is gentle on the environment since it consumes less water und uses no chemicals or fusing agents. On top of this, the pigments are biodegradable. So, we have moved one step closer to a future where eco awareness in the dyeing of textiles becomes a standard again.