The T-shirt of the future might come from the sea

Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven has developed a project that involves making textile fibers from seaweed. He recently won the Global Change Award for sustainable initiatives organised by the H&M Conscious Foundation.

tjeerd flipflopsAccording to Veenhoven, algae are an ideal raw material for clothing, because they grow on sunlight and CO2 under the sea and in lakes. From algae, we can get fibers and recyclable textile. As we have reported at the Plastic Soup Foundation, synthetic fibers are a major source of plastic pollution, so this alternative could solve a big part of the problem.

The designer collected a few bags of seaweed and analyzed the fibers with the microscope in his studio in Groningen, the Netherlands. His preliminary result is a set of green, burlap-like fabric, but he is working on creating a finer substance, similar to silk. Veenhoven had previously designed biodegradable leather palm laminate and slippers, a firm but flexible material from palm leaves.

In the past we allready saw clothes from Bamboo and hemp like materials with great specs for production, comfort and environmental footprints. But unfortunattely these materials have not become mainstream yet. Algae apparel could be a nice alternative for synthetic and cotton as well and hopefully a feasable ‘plastic free’ product for the near future.