American textile designer Elizabeth Esponnette presents the 'chia vest', her latest wearable experiment.


Beth grew chia into muslin fabric by first designing her garment, cutting the pattern pieces, laying them on saturated foam, and then planting chia seeds into the fabric.Once the chia had sprouted, she sewed the fabric into the garment it was meant to be. This garment represents a symbiotic relationship between it and its user: the user needing oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide for respiration and the chia needing carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen for photosynthesis.

Elizabeth Esponnette is a designer, who wonders why it is that we are comfortable wearing cow, but uncomfortable wearing other materials like hot glue, chia, and crystal. She manipulates the materials that we are comfortable in, and tames the ones we are not. Is there an optimum level of familiarity with a material for our comfort level?If we are not at all familiar with a material we are uncomfortable wearing it, and if we know too much about a material we are also uncomfortable wearing it. We reside in that happy medium between no familiarity and uber-familiarity by readily adopting the norms around us, rejecting the unfamiliar, and not asking questions.

March 6, 2016 Living photo: Elizabeth Esponnette

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