Milk (not silk) is the fabric du jour

Mademoiselle Chi Chi is a new trend label in Hollywood (and a favourite with stars such as Mischa Barton and Ashlee Simpson) with a clothing line made from powdered milk. Developed by a Hanover microbiologist and fashion designer in partnership with the Bremen Fibre Institute, the cloth, called Qmilch, is said to have positive effects on the skin.

The milk powder is mixed together with other ingredients in a type of meat grinder to produce a fibre that’s made into yarn and then into a silky cloth to produce dresses with a luxury feel (and priced around €150-$200).

Bio-materials have an advantage over organic materials, which are limited in supply and could become scarce and expensive on the international market. The process alone could help create more breakthroughs in the fashion industry, which is searching for cheaper and more environmentally friendly fabrics.

Sister company Qmilch has ambitions to take the fabric into other lines, including bed linens, t-shirts and car seats. People are increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and are keen to find alternatives to cheap throwaway goods. Luxury is often undervalued in green products: those that combine ethics and aesthetics will resonate with the affluent.