Tell us the story of your project.:
Often cosplay is made for short term use, commonly from non-biodegradable materials. After use, cosplay costumes are stored without intention of being worn again or disposed of in a landfill. The purpose of this research is to identify and develop methods for increasing sustainability in cosplay construction and disposal. Through interviews it was identified that a successful solution would need to create screen accurate results, maintain the feeling of joy from the craft, be used for short term use, and ideally be biodegradable. Prototyping and and testing bacterial cellulose from kombucha tea to create a leather-like material was found to satisfy these requirements. A complete cosplay was constructed from this material to prove the feasibility of creating cosplay from a more sustainable material.
Can cosplay be built with sustainability in mind? What happens to cosplays that are retired? What if the materials used were changed and these new materials were still able to produce beautiful cosplay that are fun to build? Kombucha maybe the answer
The biggest insight when building this cosplay was how relatively simple the growing process for the material could be. Optimization of growth: 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of table sugar, 6 black tea bags, 1/2 cup of kombucha tea, and a sliver of symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Combine these in a container & leave for 3 weeks at 80F
The biggest stress in building the cosplay was when ideal temperature was lost. The studio on campus had no thermostat and was instead regulated by campus facilities. Once the air conditioning (AC) had been switched on for the spring the growing and wet formed drying process of the kombucha SCOBY was slowed considerably.