Clothes made out of soil-synthesised melanin: innovative sustainable fashion comes from Thailand

If you have visited Romanian Jewelry Week, for certain you’ve been attracted to the interesting and quite unusual body adornment made out of… something different. 
I surely did and I have discovered that the materials that looked like a thin paper is, actually… a textile substitute material obtained by synthesising natural fibre and melanin from good bacteria to cellulose sheets. OK, I know is difficult to understand the process. But that is exactly the reason to chat with the designer Khajornsak Nakpan about this sustainable fabric and about the unusual pieces of jewelry. 

Khajornsak Nakpan – @khajornsak_nakpan 
The Grand Award of Romanian Jewelry Week 2021 was awarded to Khajornsak Nakpan for the outstanding collection and combination of techniques, materials and concept in contemporary jewelry.

Why did you choose to make body adornments? Why not only jewelry? Or only clothes? 

Adornment is a bridge of transcending the relationship between the outer and the internal context through the body, with the attention that humans would notice, perceive, and communicate what one’s can feel or see by observing its meaning through the senses and interpreting the philosophy to the mind. With the expectation, creating the art adornment to nurture its aesthetics will be extracted to balance the living in the next normal era, especially the graceful protection. Supporting with designing a mathematical amplituhedron as a geometrical shape for an innovative bio-melanin fibre body pieces explain more closely the system of particles, a minor point of an object. Its meaning demonstrates a balance of utility and humility to nature. Most importantly, it symbolises the return to simplicity, safety, and sustainability.      

How long does it take to do one piece of these body adornments?

It can be said that taking to do one piece of these body adornments is approximately 50 days. The experimental design process was divided into two stages. First, for more than 20 days, the cultured bacteria fully developed into a thick cellulose sheet and were ready to be used. Second, continuing 20 days ahead donated to construct this material that exemplifies a green aesthetic, potentially creating a new design standard that highlights wearers’ skin tone aesthetics. 

The message of this collection presented at Romanian Jewelry Week 2021, is…

A purpose of expressing goals—creating scientific innovation and adding value to the resources—reveals that the innovative substitute material from soil-synthesised melanin, its brown pigment that makes skin colours in humans, has excellent potential as an alternative material. It is a sustainable material that is biodegradable and produces zero waste, which reduces its production impact on the environment. Therefore, a gem-like amplituhedron shape was used to design a collection using the innovative material presented at Romanian Jewelry Week 2021. It symbolises the calculation of the form and volume of particles from the beginning to the end. Thus, it reflects changes and adjustments that occur naturally in space and time and represents an eternal cycle and balance.

For you, contemporary jewelry means…

The aspect of the essence of contemporary jewellery is the strong intention that the profound value in it would challenge human feelings towards the objects which long has the relationships with us. It can be compared to the soil. Tiny valueless particles were created through a synthesis process as soil containing good bacteria was the same as mela nin to human skin. This metaphor aims to present ideas supported by principles and creative strategies critical to jewellery’s deepening reveal and bring back the lessening importance of jewellery aesthetics to its glory once again.

Tell me a little bit about yourself…

An “innovative fashion designer” combines empirical science, essence of creative design and aesthetics to build a new body of knowledge. Khajornsak Nakpan studies a cycle and changes in the qualities of “soil” to create a textile substitute material. The production process is environmental friendly and create zero waste. This innovation synthesies melanin from bacteria in soil which yields similar hues to human skin colours. It symbolises harmonious living and “the balance of truth.”

When did you start as a designer?

Since I was 25 years old in 2000, it has been more than 20 years in progress.

If this is your first collection, what is going to be next for you?

The next project attempts to create the philosophical aesthetics of “mould”. It aims to continue driving abstract materials to improve the innovative design and harmonious living and the idea that it grows from something dead. It can be used to demonstrate the life cycle – a circle of living, pain, survival, and disintegration. It embraces the meaning of memory through a piece of jewellery, an object which carries its duty and holds sentimental value until it no longer does. What remains of it is just a memory and its meaning, which lasts forever. Therefore, the relationship between human, metaphors, and nature can lead to a “balanced reality”, enabling us to preserve the “ecological cycle of wisdom”.


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