Students at De Montfort University, Leicester, have developed a method of including nettles in fabric manufacturing, as they seek to provide the cloth industry with sustainable sources.
Mixed with other textiles, stinging nettles can be blended into a material suitable for various types of cloth. A team from the university, led by agricultural scientist Dr Matthew Horne, is producing clothes, car upholstery and office furnishings.
The initial groundwork was begun by a student, Alex Dear, who designed lingerie using the plant. The team is now hoping that the process they are developing can receive widespread adoption from cloth manufacturers.
Julie King, Head of the department of fashion and textiles at De Montfort, said: “What we do very well here is innovation in technical textiles, manufacturing methods and design.” She pointed out that the East Midlands is the second largest manufacturing region of clothing and textiles in the EU.
This development comes after another student from the university, Danielle Smith, designed an antibacterial nurse’s outfit that may revolutionise help to prevent the spread of disease.