Vegan Leather from Kombucha SCOBYs

In the Fall 2021 edition of SYMBIOSIS Magazine, we profiled Sacha Laurin’s award-winning designs fashioned from SCOBY fabrics. She had taken early experiments in fabrics based on SCOBY (pellicle) processing to an international audience when, in 2015, she premiered her collection, entitled the “Game of Kombucha” at the Paris Fashion Week.

The challenge that Sacha acknowledged was that fabrics produced from the “nanocellular biopolymer,” “bio-cellulose,” or “bacterial cellulose” of a SCOBY needed modifications to succeed as a commercial proposition:

Sacha hopes to pass the knowledge she’s acquired of how to grow kombucha fabric to others. More people experimenting and investing in the process will develop it as a viable, commercial, sustainable product. However, kombucha fabric has some hurdles to overcome – you cannot wash it, it lacks elasticity, and it has a distinctive floral aroma.


Reeti Roy and Dr. Elena Dieckmann of Imperial College, London, are researching solutions to these issues.

They are experimenting with producing vegan leathers made from kombucha brewery by-products.

Elena is a Lecturer at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College. Her specialist areas are biomaterials, physical prototyping, waste resource conversion, design and manufacturing of circular materials. She is supervising Reeti’s work.

Reeti is enrolled at the Royal College of Art. She works with kombucha breweries such as Twisted Kombucha and Holos Kombucha which donate their excess SCOBYs.

The goal is to increase bacterial cellulose leathers’ durability and water resistance. The water resistance is improved with wax impregnation. The fabric can then be washed without degradation. Challenges remain with scaling for industrial production.

Another challenge is securing adequate supplies. Early attempts to transport pellicles on the London Tube in leaking plastic garbage bags caused issues! London-based kombucha companies are encouraged to contact Reeti and arrange for regular donations to help create a symbiosis between the beverage and textile industries. Email:

Testing different dyes and colors to determine compatibility with the bacterial cellulose material


Listen to the podcast to hear an interview I recorded on a visit to Imperial College in April.

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