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From waste to fashion

Tofu is delicious and many Indonesians love tofu. But the waste from tofu production can lead to water pollution. These women from Yogyakarta are transforming waste into clothing.



SOYA C(O)U(L)TURE is a project launched by XXLAB, an all-female open source and free technology initiative based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The aim is to reduce water pollution and create a unique sustainable fabric that can replace leather.


Designing ‘haute couture’

XXLAB uses digital and organic hacking methods to design material and dresses and other fashion goods from the waste created by the tofu production process.


From tofu to trend

Tofu, which is made from soya beans, is one of the favorite foods of Indonesians. It is also very healthy because it contains a lot of protein, especially if it is organic. In Indonesia, tofu is made at home but also in factories. Unfortunately, however, large-scale production is leading to water pollution.


What does XXLAB do?

XXLAB collects the liquid waste from tofu factories, which is then boiled up with vinegar, sugar and urea fertilizer. Afterwards, they add bacteria and wait 10 days for the mixture to turn into microbial cellulose. The next step is remove as much water as possible and to let the mixture dry.


Unique products

The result is a sustainable fabric friom which clothes, wallets, shoes and bags can be produced at a low cost because the equipment and ingredients are not expensive.


Do It Yourself

This DIY fabric-producing method can be tried by anyone at home, especially women in poor areas who need to increase their income. Thus, the project is an example of an alternative sustainable economic practice.



The all-female art, science and technology collective XXLAB was founded in 2013 by Irene Agrivina Widyaningrum, Ratna Djuwita Eka Jayani Ayuningtias, Asa Rahmana and Atinna Rizqiana.


Fighting pollution and poverty

XXLAB offers creative solutions to food and fuel shortages, waste and poverty.


Author: Ayu Purwaningsih


Editor: Anne Thomas



15.03.2018 | 13:54