TED Fellow Suzanne Lee is a fashion designer turned biological conjurer, who gleefully plays with new materials and processes.
Fashion designer Suzanne Lee directs the BioCouture research project, which sprang from an idea in her book Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe, a seminal text on fashion and future technologies. Her research harnesses nature to propose a radical future fashion vision: Can we grow a dress from a vat of liquid?
Using bacterial-cellulose, Lee aims to address pressing ecological and sustainability issues around fashion and beyond. A Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she is working with scientists to investigate whether synthetic biology can engineer optimized organisms for growing future consumer products
"I’m also creating new bacterial-cellulose composite swatches looking at eco-substrates like hemp. This month I’m teaching an exciting project exploring systems and synthetic biology to postgraduate textile and industrial design students alongside eminent scientists from Cambridge University."Suzanne Lee in the TED2011 Fellows guide
“What I’m looking for is a way to give material the qualities that I need. So what I want to do is say to a future [insect], ‘Spin me a thread. Align it in this direction. Make it hydrophobic. And while you’re at it, just form it around this 3D shape.’”