PUMA x Living Colour

We have teamed up with global sports brand PUMA to explore more sustainable technologies and new aesthetics in textile dyeing. The results can be seen in the new “Design to Fade” presentation at (virtual) Milan Design Week 2020.


In 2016 we started Living Colour, a biodesign collaboration exploring a unique method to dye textiles with bacteria that produce pigments. In that same year PUMA began investing in biodesign, through which the company is presenting new ways to reduce the environmental impact of fashion and sportswear. Now Living Colour and PUMA have joined forces to present the very first bacterial dyed sportswear collection.

The bacteria are responsible for a portion of the design and manufacturing, which involves no toxic chemicals. We use natural occurring bacteria that feed off nutrients and ferment these into pigments. The bacteria are cultivated on the textile itself, while dyeing it at the same time. This live dyeing process leaves visible growth patterns on the fabric that are unique to each dye batch. To dye fabrics in an even colour the pigment is extracted from the bacteria and used as a dye.

The very first bacterial dyed sportswear collection

The collection consists of six garments, based on PUMA’s iconic archive styles, socks and shoes. Within this project we had complete creative freedom. At the headquarter of PUMA we got to know the innovation team and learned about PUMA’s sustainability values.

During our second visit to the PUMA headquarters, we were allowed to browse the archive. We used characteristic PUMA styles like the T7 jacket, the retro running shorts and the windbreaker jacket. We deconstructed the patterns and started designing new looks. 

For this collection we were also inspired by the Red-backed Salamander. The bacteria we use protect this salamander from a deadly fungus. We used the fluid shapes of the salamander combined with gender neutral silhouettes. For example the seamless panels in the windbreaker jacket refer to the round lines of the salamander. We made design sketches, but then we were mainly guided by the dye results.

In this process we worked with the material that was available. So we limited ourselves not to use only new fabric but we used PUMA (dead)stock fabrics. For a few details we used sportswear fabrics from our local fabric supplier, deadstock from our own collections and a peace silk (non-violent silk breeding and harvesting where the silkworm stays alive) and hemp blend for the T7 jacket and as a panel for the windbreaker. 

Made from a variety of moisture wicking synthetics and natural fibres, the collection shows the many dyeing possibilities. Same as in nature, the colour of the textiles change with the seasons of the garment or shoe, enhancing the uniqueness of each garment and the activity of the wearer.

The Design to Fade presentation was planned to be held in the Stazione Centrale warehouses, the heart of the Milan Design Week events. Due to the current pandemic, the presentation has been moved to a virtual space and can now be viewed at: and