In the food industry, soybeans have been used for everything from milk to the creation of tofu. However, there’s been a whole new twist on them – in the fashion industry.
XXLab, a female collective in Indonesia focusing on art, science and free technology, has been working with soybeans as a sustainable alternative to animal leather.
According to Irene Agrivina, an artist at XXLab, there’s a whole reason behind why they are working with soybeans.
“There’s a lot of waste thrown away to the river because of tofu production so [we thought] what we can do [with] this waste and make it into something valuable.”
The production of this bio-leather starts with the liquid waste that comes from tofu production, which is then boiled with vinegar, sugar and fertilizer. Then, they add bacteria and wait 10 days for the mixture to become microbial cellulose – the point at which it can be pressed and dried.
Up to date, this fabric has been made into shoes, bags and wallets; however, it is not for sale to public yet. Although, as Indonesia is a top consumer of soybeans, this new creation could have a successful future.
According to designer Ratna Djuwita: “Maybe in the future this will be a new trend of material or we just share it to everybody and people know it, and can apply it for free.”