05 September 2019
You can think of algae as a space age material that just happens to be 1.5 billion years old. It consumes carbon dioxide, produces up to 80% of the oxygen on Earth, and is the original source of all plant life on the planet. Having played its role in populating Earth, algae may also hold the key to humanity surviving off it. Providing algae can grow in microgravity, it looks set to help create the food, fuel and oxygen we will need for interplanetary travel.
And if you’re going to make clothes out of nature, algae is exactly the kind of natural resource that we should be using. There’s an astonishing amount of it, and it only needs light, carbon dioxide and water to multiply at crazy speed. So we wanted to start the journey of getting it into clothing.
The result is the Plant and Algae T Shirt. Built entirely from plants and algae grown in forests and bioreactors, it’s not only made from nature, but once you’ve finished with it you can bury it back in the earth and it will biodegrade in 12 weeks. Sustainability is simply a lot easier to understand when it involves feeding your old clothes to worms, as you’re unlikely to forget the day you buried your t shirt in the garden.
This was always the original aim when we started building it – to show what a sustainable closed loop system in clothing could look like. We wanted to make a piece of clothing entirely out of natural materials that could simply return to nature and leave no trace of its existence once it reached the end of its lifespan. Over the last 50 years the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill in the US alone has risen 10X. Not adding to that felt like the very definition of cutting-edge to us.