Fashion Collection Biomimicks Snakeskin Using Recycled Woodchips


Photos: Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse via Behance

Fashion has often been role-cast as a wasteful industry, but we've seen how up-and-coming fashion designers are increasingly using discarded materials in sustainable ways to create stunning work.

British fashion design grad student Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse took her cue from the discarded, laser-cut plywood chips she saw strewn on the floor of her school's workshop. In collecting them, she used hand-sewing to re-make these waste pieces into a fabulous collection that also mimicks the natural patterns of snake's skin.

stefanie-nieuwenhuyse6.jpg quotes Nieuwenhuyse as saying:

I saw some tiny diamond-shaped pieces of wood on the university workshop floor - I suspect they were window shapes cut out by an architecture student. They created really eye-catching patterns on the ground so I scooped some up and took them home with me.


Nieuwenhuyse took these pieces and began to experiment, gluing them onto cotton. And the fact that Nieuwenhuyse's collection -- which includes a corset-style piece, a full-length gown, trousers, neckpieces and shoes -- seems to replicate snake skin is no accident. She says:

I have strived to create a luxurious sustainable garment using nature's natural patterns and shapes, also known as bio-mimicry, such as reptile skins. By combining modern techniques such as laser cutting with hand-sewn details I have created garments with a luxurious appeal without depleting any natural resources; using discarded pieces of plywood and cutting the shapes out as efficiently as possible and applying them onto the fabric.



Made in collaboration with bio-waste firm InCrops Enterprise Hub, Nieuwenhuyse's collection was recently shown at London Fashion Week. In re-purposing waste materials and utilizing handcrafted techniques with machine-cut pieces, Nieuwenhuyse's dynamic, hybrid pieces stake out an interesting space between craft and machine, between sustainable and consumer cultures, and between 'style' and nature's genius.

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