I am continuing my quest to investigate sustainable alternatives to Polyester and Cotton. Recently I wrote about Bamboo Fabric… this week it’s all about milk. Yes, milk. Which can be transformed into a biodegradable, renewable, synthetic fibre with anti-bacterial properties.
Turning milk into a sustainable fabric.
Milk or casein fibre was first developed during World War I in Germany and further developed in the 1930′s in the US and Italy, although the process used chemicals which were harmful to the environment. Recent developments by German fashion designer and microbiologist, Anke Domaske, have resulted in a more durable fibre from a chemical free process, making milk fibre fashion a truly eco friendly option. Anke Domaske’s milk fibre is known as QMilch. Other milk fibre brand names include Aralac, Lanatil and Merinova.
The QMilch process:
The QMilch fabric is made from sour milk and the process gets extra eco points as it uses low grade milk that would otherwise be discarded. QMilch fibre is formed by extracting the casein from dried milk powder which is then heated up in a type of meat-mincing machine with other natural ingredients. This heating process binds the molecules in such a way that they will not then decompose. The fibre comes out in strands and is then spun into yarn. The entire process only takes about an hour with low water use and according to Domaske, it takes approximately 6 litres of milk to produce one dress.
The resulting fabric is light, feels similar to silk (and unlike real silk it doesn’t use any pesticides), is odourless, antibacterial and has a pH that is close to the skin’s natural pH value. It can be laundered normally. There are claims that the amino acids in the milk fibre will increase blood circulation with anti-aging effects. Wow.
Anke Domaske has her own fashion label called Mademoiselle Chi Chi (MCC) which carries a collection of milk fibre fashion.
Check out this video by Deutsche Welle on YouTube:
I think this is an incredible fabric development. Biodegradable, sustainable fabric made from milk that would otherwise be thrown away… those are some hard to beat eco-credentials.