Is there really a place downtown that sells fabrics made from coffee grounds, seaweed, and coconuts?

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    Yum! You can see all of those, plus blue socks made from skimmed, dried, and bioengineered milk (smooth and slippery), a skein of Dungeness crab (like spider silk), and recycled cassette tapes spun into a minidress (think burlap with a beat). But—sorry, Hollywood club kids—none of it is for sale. Instead, the wacky materials are housed in the permanent collection of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. The library has more than 15,000 items and is open to the public by appointment, so feel free to ask textile manager Kristine Upesleja or one of her staffers to wrap you in a woven banana leaf for fun. If you must have that rodent stem-cell jacket, they’ll know where to get it.
     
    Photograph courtesy reallynatural.com