Dezeen Magazine

Stella McCartney releases jumpsuit made with iridescent BioSequins

British fashion brand Stella McCartney has unveiled a sleeveless bodysuit adorned with Radiant Matter's bioplastic sequins made from tree cellulose.

The skin-tight all-in-one, which was made in Stella McCartney's London atelier, is embellished with hundreds of shimmering sequins called BioSequins.

The sequins were developed by biomaterials company Radiant Matter as an alternative to the petroleum-based plastic options on the market, which can contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals.

Founder of Radiant Matter Elissa Brunato believes that there is a "gap in the market" for a more sustainable sequin for garments.

Radiant Matter BioSequin jumpsuit
Stella McCartney has unveiled a jumpsuit embellished with bioplastic sequins

"Our BioSequins are the response to a gap in the market between sustainable and aesthetic parameters that the industry struggled to close," Brunato told Dezeen.

"When I used to work in fashion design studios, I felt first-hand the discrepancy between the beauty of the craft, the narratives being told and the disappointingly toxic material choices I was confronted with," she said.

"Radiant Matter is working on solutions that are healthy for the planet without compromising aesthetics."

Each disc-shaped BioSequin is made from renewable polymer cellulose extracted from trees. The cellulose's material properties mean that it naturally reflects light and makes the sequins sparkle.

By contrast, traditional plastic sequins are often coated or finished with synthetic, toxic or metalised parts to give them their shine.

"Our BioSequins are structurally coloured, meaning that the colour stems from the material's innate structure rather than from dyes, metals or minerals," Brunato explained.

"Conventional sequins are made of a polyester film called Mylar or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which cause particularly significant environmental and health risks – producing toxic, bio-accumulative chemicals, including carcinogens, such as phthalates and hormone disruptors."

Bio Iridescent Sequin by Elissa Brunato
Radiant Matter developed its first BioSequin in 2019

Radiant Matter first released its Bio Iridescent Sequins in 2019; however, this is the first time the sequins have been used on a piece of clothing.

It follows in the footsteps of fashion designer Phillip Lim and industrial designer Charlotte McCurdy's petroleum-free dress, which was covered in bioplastic sequins made from algae.

Brunato, who described the jumpsuit as "the world's first garment crafted from Radiant Matter's BioSequins", hopes that the bodysuit will showcase the potential of BioSequins.

The item was worn by model and activist Cara Delevingne for the latest edition of US Vogue.

"While the BioSequin jumpsuit will not yet be commercially available, it showcases the potential of Radiant Matter's material innovation in benefiting the health of both people and planet," she said.

"As this is a first-ever prototype, much care and consideration went into its construction and design," she continued.

"We have loved Stella McCartney's uncompromising approach to sustainability and aesthetics, which is reflected in any decision, down to the fabric and thread choice, resulting in a fully plant-derived garment," Brunato said.

Stella McCartney was founded in 2001. Since its launch, the brand has introduced several sustainable initiatives for its collections and has been a PVC-free brand since 2010.

It released a biodegradable tennis dress in collaboration with Adidas that was made from lab-grown spider silk and a two-piece made using a leather alternative grown from mycelium.