For the fashion industry, cows provide more than just leather. Combining her knowledge of biochemistry and clothing design, a German designer has begun making clothes from a textile that’s made of pure milk, the AP reports. It feels like silk, is as washable as cotton, and is good for the environment—and on top of that, it’s great for those with sensitive skin. Anke Domaske aims to start mass-producing the material, called Qmilch, next year. (The process involves reducing milk to a protein powder that gets boiled and pressed into strands that are woven into fabric, writes Melissa Eddy.)
Currently, oil byproducts and vast quantities of water are used to make clothes; a German textile group says Qmilch could change fashion. “We know that everything that is based on oil has a limit, that materials like cotton that take up a lot of land, water, and chemicals are limited, so we need to think about how we produce fabrics and textiles in the future,” says the head of the Textile Research Association. There is a drawback to Qmilch, however: It costs $28 to make a half-pound of the stuff; organic cotton sells for about 40% less.