Are you looking to spruce up your wardrobe this spring? Well, we’ve got the season’s eco-fashion garment for you — a wearable garden vest that thrives on your urine. Created by designer Aroussiak Gabrielian, the lush “garden cloak” concept was inspired as a potential solution to crop scarcity around the globe. With the potential to grow up to 40 crops, the green vest is irrigated by urine filtered through reverse osmosis.
According to Gabrielian, the living garments are supposed to reconnect the food producer and consumer in order to foster a more self-reliant and resilient food production system.”The habitats are essentially cloaks of plant life that are intended to provide sustenance to the wearer, as well as flourish as expanding ecosystems that attract and integrate other animal and insect life,” Gabrielian said.
Recently unveiled at the Rome Sustainable Food Project, each cloak is an individual microhabitat made up of several layers. The multi-layered system is made up of moisture-retention felt and a drip and capillary irrigation layer, followed by the sprouting plant system.
The living ecosystem layer is made up of plants, including herbs, greens, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fungi, that require sun and water as inputs. Another layer is made up of pollinators, which are essential to creating a fully sustainable crop output.
The garden vests are outfitted with an integral system that recycles human waste, primarily urine. Collected via a built-in catheter, urine is stored, filtered and used to irrigate the plants. An innovative osmosis system, originally developed by NASA, converts urine into water by draining it through a semi-permeable membrane that filters out salt and ammonia.
Working with a team made up of microgreens researcher Grant Calderwood, fashion designer Irene Tortora, Chris Behr from the Rome Sustainable Food Project and collaborator Alison Hirsh, Gabrielian’s innovative project was made possible thanks to funding from the American Academy in Rome. Additionally, the grow lights were donated by PHILIPS.
Images via Aroussiak Gabrielian