Emily Crane's Edible Clothes


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Emily Crane
16 Monday 16th May 2011

To kick things off, could you tell us a bit about what led you away from conventional fashion design and towards your innovative work?

‘Micro-Nutrient Couture’ evolved from a restrictive brief based on the premise of Zero resources to create fashion futures; without the current mass production capabilities available what would a fashion practitioner do?

We've heard that in your time at Kingston University, you hinted at a future partnership with Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in Bray. What's the story there?

Whilst working on the project last summer I asked for The Fat Duck's Experimental Kitchen's help. I was looking into edible foaming agents and they very kindly agreed to meet with me, showed me a range of techniques and I left having had an introduction into their bonkers world of molecular mixology.

Walk us through your typical process for using a gelatine base. How do you get from a food-based mixture to a wearable garment or piece of jewellery?

The key is the process. Most of my wearable pieces are recipes that are mixed, set and come out of the freezer and are either dried or worn until the wearer is wanting to eat them or remix and reform the materials to create a constant new.  

What role do you think edible clothing could realistically play in changing how consumers (no pun intended) relate to the clothes they wear?

I feel its the methodology behind them, I aim to provoke and probe people perceptions of clothing. For instance this collection is made from food bi-products, other wise waste, making it edible so that the body can dispose of it, avoiding landfill and giving the body nutrition. The materials are also re-meltable and re-mold-able so there is never any need to wear the same dress twice.

Which are some of your own favourite pieces, whether edible or not?

My favourite piece is known as 'the missing link', a hybrid piece that straddles textile manipulation, molecular gastronomy and transient garments. It is a fusion or kappa carragheenan and silk organza and where the seaweed has shrunk it has gathered up the silk to create a beautiful embellished texture.  

Which materials are your favourites to work with?

I prefer to work with gelatines as they have the largest manipulation possibilities, they have the widest range I have found of different qualities depending on the recipes.

What do you think inspires you to create?

I like to ask questions and push boundaries, challenging the norm and reality.

How much of your passion comes from other designers, artists, musicians and/or the environment?

To be honest I am most inspired by process and applying an unusual process from a different industry to a single material often means it behaves in a totally different way.  

And finally, what's next for the Micro Nutrient Couture project? Got anything else up your sleeve for the next season?

I certainly have a few things up my sleeve, or shall I say in my freezer. I cannot reveal some yet however I can tell you I am going to be demoing at V2 TEST_LAB on May 26 2011.


Keep up to date with Emily Crane's work and future plans on her site.

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