Fashion is notorious for its astounding impact on the planet. Clothes are discarded within a few months in favor of the latest trend, cheap, synthetic fibers send harmful microplastics into the oceans, and waste from wealthier nations is often shipped to countries without additional resources only to pollute the local environments. As some designers try to steer the industry toward a more ethical, sustainable future, materials are often front of mind, including for Zena Holloway, who recently released a collection of garments and objects grown from grass roots.
Inspired by the sprawling, delicate shape of coral, Holloway creates soft, textured dresses, collars, lamps, and mobiles from wheatgrass seed. The plant sprouts over the course of about two weeks in beeswax molds. As it grows, it produces its intricately woven root structure, which the designer guides into specific spaces or allows to expand into large, sheet-like forms. Entirely compostable, the material is “both reality and metaphor, aiming to expose the beauty and vulnerability of coral and to champion ocean conservation,” and has the potential to be sewn into clothing or shaped into other functional goods.
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