In the past few years sequins have dominated the scene of the fashion industry, from fashion shows, red carpet gown to children’s reversible sequin garments these shimmering beads are everywhere!
However this year the attention was shifted on the debate whether or not celebrities should wear sequins on the Academy Awards red carpet because of their disastrous environmental impact.
Traditional sequins are made from petroleum-based plastic, a long-life non biodegradable material produced using toxic chemicals. Hard to be recycled, these shimmering beads will end up most likely in landfill or in our waste streams.
The growing demand for a sustainable solution prompted designer Elissa Brunato to do research on an alternative to conventional plastic sequin.
In collaboration with Material Scientists Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abibol form RISE, Brunato developed the ‘Bio Iridescent Sequin’, a plastic free and biodegradable shimmering bead made from natural cellulose extracted from wood.
With the use of ‘bio-technologies’ Brunato has developed a way to produce a wide range of samples of different colours and sizes with iridescent shine and without the use of chemicals. “By extracting the crystalline form of cellulose, the wood-originating matter can imitate the alluring visual aesthetics of beetle wings.”
The ‘Bio Iridescent Sequin’ has similar characteristic to conventional plastic-based sequins. It is lightweight, durable with advantage of been compostable.
“Re-imagining the landscape of available materials that we have on this earth can allow for safer and more environmentally sustainable approaches to shimmering colour. These approaches have the potential to outshine the previous options in a way that is more forward thinking and innovative.”
All images courtesy of Elissa Brunato