Biomimicry

1-2 days

Individual / Group / Excursion

Collect / Create

Description

Exploring nature has inspired countless functionalities today. Looking at mechanisms such as photosynthesis and self-sustaining ecosystems, or more detail-oriented elements such as skin, shells, assembly, eyes, ears, communication systems etc. might spark new perspectives on garments. This activity is about studying nature to look for these unique qualities and using them to inspire future garment design. The invention of Velcro which is based on the grappling hooks of seeds, is one example of how natural solutions have inspired the clothing industry.

Which qualities inherent in natural species can inspire future garment design?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social

Delivery

STEP 1: INDIVIDUAL 

Ask students to take a walk in the forest and find one living species that they find interesting. Make them investigate the species, its functions, its qualities, its surroundings etc. Students can conduct an ‘imaginary interview’ with the species to find out more about its specific qualities (use the podcast “Everything is Alive” to set the scene for the interview). Insights are concretised in a one-page format by answering the following questions and afterwards these insights can be used to replicate these qualities into the garment design: 


  • What species is it? 

  • What is interesting? 

  • How can it be used? 

  • How is a biomimetic concept translated? 

  • How can functions of this specific species be used in relation to fashion or material development such as smart textiles and garment functions? Keywords could be strength, water-resistance, colour-changeability, stickiness etc.

STEP 2: GROUP 

Try to make an all-year collection based on this specific function. 


  • How can you optimise/minimise the function?

Suggested Readings

Dénommé, M. 2019. “Sitting in Trees”. In Fletcher, K., L.S. Pierre, and M. Design and Nature: A Partnership. Taylor & Francis, pp. 38-43

Lenau, T. A., Orrù, A. M. & Linkola, L. 2018. “Biomimicry in the Nordic Countries”. Nordic Council of Ministers.

Benyus, J. 2009. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Harper Perennial.