On Saturday, 1 June, Iza Awad - student in the joint UvA-VU Chemistry Master's - showed his organic fashion collection in the VU's botanical garden. As the closing of his minor at the Hybrid forms lab at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Awad presented a new organic Kombucha fabric. The show included a queer message and call for open-mindedness and inclusiveness.
For the production of the clothing pieces, Awad used a living organic Kombucha fabric, consisting of Kombucha Bacterial Cellulose. Kombucha is a drink that emerges from the fermentation of green tea. By adding a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY), a cellulose layer is formed with leather-like traits. By using organic chemicals, living photosynthetic organisms, like algae and plants, can live in synergy with the 'kombucha leather'. With his biodegradable 'living fashion', Awad aims to reform the idea of fashion, and take a step towards a future where sustainable inclusive fashion is the standard.
To organise the fashion show, which was the conclusion of his minor at VU's Hybrid Forms Lab, Awad received an allowance from the Science4all Grassrootsprogramme at the UvA Faculty of Science. Awad, who identifies as queer himself, is a vocal supporter of the lhbt+-community and uses his collection to send a queer message. 'I want nobody to feel excluded by my collection. I don't care whether you're a man, woman, non-binary person, full-figured or slim; everybody belongs in this world, and my fashion is for everyone.'
The Faculty of Science wants to be an inclusive community where every person, regardless of race, gender or cultural background, feels welcome and valued. Looking for ways to stimulate diversity of our community, the Faculty of Science started the Science4all Grassroots programme. Students and staff were invited students and staff to submit ideas for all kinds of activities, such as a symposium, cultural or social activities, PR materials or a web campaign, for which they could receive financial support from the Faculty.