If you’re a little picky about textiles, you won’t relish the news that a new man-made fibre has been invented. Every spring, I trawl clothes stores and the internet, scrutinising every floaty garment that I like, ensuring that it’s not made of nylon, polyester, or any other deceptive, quasi-plastic fabric. In a perfect world, I’d probably only ever wear cashmere, cotton and silk. Oh, and leather, suede and fur…sorry PETA.
But that’s why I’m excited about QMilch. It’s a fabric made in Germany, marketed as Milkotex and, yep, It’s made of milk. Sour milk, in fact. It’s odourless, apparently feels like silk, and can be washed like any other fabric. It’s even environmentally friendly – so if you’re one of those self-righteous people who goes on about upcycling and fairtrade cotton, then Milkotex will agree with your “save the world” sensibilities, too.
Invented by Anke Domaske, who is a micro-biologist and fashion designer, the fabric doesn’t require any chemical processes, and is manufactured by heating. The molecules in the milk start creating fibres that can then be processed into clothing. Domaske invented the fabric in order to answer the problem of clothes for people with sensitive skin and allergies – the close-ups of the Qmilch strands show them to be a lot smoother than wool or cotton fibres.
Right now, although a Milkotex dress can be made out of just six litres of milk, it will still set you back around $200. However, in the EU alone, millions of gallons of milk go to waste either because the milk is unfit for human consumption, or because of the Common Agricultural Policy, which is in place to stabilise the cost of dairy products. This milk is often just sprayed onto the fields, but if more of it were to be used in the manufacturing of Milkotex, it could be the most innovative and environmentally friendly fabric in the fashion industry. Not only that, but once manufactured on a large scale it should prove to be incredibly affordable to produce.
So what’s not to love about QMilch? Well, they have some pretty dodgy press shots…