Fashion Designer Makes Clothes From Milk

By: Juliet Mann
By: Juliet Mann

Hoping for a transformation of the textile industry... a fashion designers shows us how her clothes are made from milk.

Juliet Mann has that story.

Here is one collection that might quench a thirst for fashion...

... Clothes cut from a cloth that looks and feels like silk, but is actually made from... Milk!

The German designer who invented the fabric, called Qmilch, says it fills in a gap in the textiles market which struggles with the falling supply and the rising cost of raw materials.

"Milk is a natural resource so why not make a natural fibber from it ...started experimenting... we started out in the kitchen, it is almost like baking."

Milk fabric has been around since the 1930s, but the process involved chemicals. The company says Qmilch doesn't - and requires less water to produce than natural fibbers do.

"To make 1 kg cotton it takes 20 thousand litters of water, it is tremendous......our process only uses 2 liters of water, much less than producing cotton."

Here is how it works ... A local dairy takes leftover milk that can't be drunk, lets it ferment to this lumpy cheese stage and turns it into powder.

This milk powder, a bit like the protein powder body-builders use, is then mixed with a secret recipe of natural ingredients. In a few minutes they get this, which is spun into a yarn to make the finished product.

Qmilch is wearing well with the fashion crowd.

"It is extraordinary. I didn't know you could do that out of milk...."

"I like the thinking that is made out of milk and the designer told me it does not produce any waste..."

But is the price right?

Qmilch costs around 30 dollars per kilo to produce

The average cost of producing cotton yarn is 3.8 dollars per kilo

But they are marketing Qmilch as a luxury fibber, like silk, and say that while commodity prices fluctuate depending on the markets and the weather, jump cut the milk glasses for all except the Qmilch glass

The cost of Qmilch is expected to be more stable, mainly because it is produced from waste. The textile industry is starting to pay attention... And the business is growing.

"We are just ordering machines for producing 1000 tones per year. Still a pilot plan but still very exciting. It is scaling up from producing 2kg per hour to 120kg per hour"

Anke with her sketchbooks

On the drawing board are expansion plans. Anke Domaske claims the material is non allergic and says there is keen interest from makers of hospital and hotel bedding, plus car upholstery firms.

Churning up the textiles industry with an innovative, sustainable fabric could well change the future for the fashion business.

Juliet Mann, CNN, Hanover in Germany.

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