LONDON — Auroboros is taking couture into new territory, creating clothing that crystalizes and grows on the body.
Founded by Paula Sello and Alissa Aulbekova, who are in currently designers in residence at Sarabande, the charitable trust established by Lee Alexander McQueen, Auroboros is using biomimicry to create one-of-a-kind pieces with a sustainable edge.
“It’s made-to-measure couture clothing that grows on the body through a six-to-12-hour process. It’s quite an exciting new way of creating couture because these pieces really live — and then fall apart, which means the wearer can really cherish that moment,” said Sello.
Crystals bloom from an item of clothing, such as a dress. These garments can act as stand-alone pieces and are designed with intricate cutting and shaping techniques that make them look like pieces of art, or tropical plants. The shaping also controls and dictates the pattern of the crystals which, when activated, bloom from the clothes like flowers.
Wearers can choose when the crystallization process occurs and activate the chemical process with a simple gesture, such as pulling on a strap or pushing a button.
“There are many ways you can grow materials now, but this is really the only thing out there that grows in such a short timeframe and that interacts with you. When it grows, you become part of its residual growth, you’ll be wearing a garment that is of a different nature than when you first put it on,” said Sello.
While it is difficult to imagine clothing that can metamorphose over time, the designers say that is part of the allure and the performance aspect of their proposition. They are also hoping the growth process will prompt wearers to think about clothing in a new light.
Because of the organic nature of the garment, it has a specific life cycle: The crystals grow and change color over time due to oxidization, and they eventually fall off. The undergarment itself is also biodegradable, but the pair said they hope customers will keep it long after the crystals have fallen off.
The designers said they want to create discussion about relating garments back to the body. “We’ve been discussing how this impacts your psyche. If you wear clothing that you see growing on yourself, it really puts on the table subjects of production, how important the piece is and what happens to it next,” said Aulbekova.
The entire process is done solely by the designers, who are proponents of slow fashion. They’re also hoping that science can better inform the lifecycle of fashion and they hope to be at the forefront of merging these two areas.
“We’re bringing our best science into the mix, and trying to be progressive, but at the same time delivering a beautiful couture creation. Right now with COVID-19, we’re seeing that it’s such a pivotal moment for digital and all these realms interconnecting, which is where we will focus our launch,” said Sello.
The pair are readying to launch the project at the end of this year and are hoping to have a two-pronged strategy. Because of the unique nature of their clothes, they are aiming to attract a couture clientele for custom and hand-made pieces. Their second stream focuses on producing virtual clothes for gaming enthusiasts that will exist in the digital realm only, giving these customers a chance to dress their online avatars.
“We see a future in digital fashion; it goes back to our inspirations. From sci-fi to video games, the whole gaming environment is very alluring, as it’s where people can create new identities and narratives and that’s something we want to push with our digital collection to promote equality and diversity. It’s a no-size issue and accessible for all bodies, whether that’s plus-size or disabled,” said Aulbekova.