Creative Design: Graduate

RETHINK II: Kombucha Shoes for Scarlett and Rhett

  • Changhyun Nam (Iowa State University)
  • Young-A Lee (Iowa State University)


We challenged ourselves to rethink what constitutes sustainable consumer products in a world of increasingly stressed natural resources. We explored the innovative way to develop renewable materials, leather-like nonwoven fabrics, which can be used for apparel and footwear products for the betterment of people and the planet. The cellulose fiber mats formed by bacteria and yeast in fermenting green tea can be produced without any synthetic process or chemical materials. Our kombucha shoes can be an alternate future where we move to a cradle-to-cradle system, instead of relying on materials derived from unsustainable sources. The outcome of our innovative design efforts is presented by creating aesthetically pleasing, biodegradable shoes for Scarlett and Rhett, leading characters from Gone with the Wind, one of the most famous American fiction bestsellers published in the 1930s. RETHINK II design provides a promising future of this biodegradable material as an alternate future suitable for footwear.

How to Cite:

Nam, C. & Lee, Y., (2016) “RETHINK II: Kombucha Shoes for Scarlett and Rhett”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 73(1).

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Published on
10 Nov 2016
Peer Reviewed