Clothing can be made from a variety of fibers, including cotton, wool, polyester, silk, and now, even milk.
Every year, millions of tons of milk deemed unsafe for human consumption are discarded. However, a German company has discovered an eco-friendly way of turning the spilled milk into high-end fashion.
QMilch is a fabric made entirely of milk, and is the brain child of microbiologist and fashion designer Anke Domaske, who uses the fabric for her fashion label Madamoiselle Chichi. Though the process of converting spoiled milk into fabric has existed since the 1930s, it previously involved chemicals. QMilch does not.
The milk is allowed to ferment before it is turned into a powder, which is then heated and mixed with other natural ingredients. The entire mixture is turned into yarn, which can be woven or knitted into a silk-like cloth.
According to Domaske, the process only uses two liters of water to create one kilo (or 2.2 pounds) of material, compared to the 20,000 liters of water that go in to the creation of one kilo of cotton. However, there won’t be any cheap t-shirts made out of milk fabric any time soon, as the cost for producing the fabric is currently much higher– QMilch costs around $15 per pound to produce, whereas cotton yarn costs less than $2.
The material is being marketed as a luxury fiber, and is currently enjoying rising popularity. The fabric is non-allergenic, and is attracting interest outside of the fashion world. There have been inquires into the fabric from makers of hospital and hotel bedding, car upholstery firms, and more.