Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Galina Mihaleva
Cronkite News | AZBigMedia
You smell it before you see it.
As Galina Mihaleva opens the door to a former teachers’ lounge at the School of Art at Arizona State University, the pungent, sweet-and-sour aroma of fermenting tea assaults the senses.
Inside the lounge is a makeshift lab where dozens of plastic containers, some open and others closed, hold a blend of teas, sugar, water and bacteria that are fermenting into a slippery, rubbery fiber mat. A mat that, once dried, will become someone’s coat, jacket or dress.
The brightly lit, sterile-looking nook may look high-tech but it actually is a new twist on a millennia-old process that Mihaleva hopes will be the future of sustainable fashion.
“This is an old thing,” said Mihaleva, a visiting professor at ASU who teaches students about the future of sustainability in the industry. “Two thousand to 3,000 years ago, the Chinese were doing (this) without knowing they were making biotextiles.”