Innovation That Matters

The algae raincoat | Photo source Charlotte McCurdy

Designer creates carbon-negative raincoat

Fashion & Beauty

It is made by binding algae with heat and then pouring the resulting material into custom-made moulds


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Spotted: New York designer Charlotte McCurdy has created a plastic out of algae, which reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. She has fashioned the plastic into a raincoat, which is being exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in New York City.

McCurdy’s raincoat was made by binding the algae with heat and then pouring the resulting material into custom-made moulds. The pattern is cut into the plastic while it is still in the mould. Once cooled and solidified, the translucent plastic is given a thin coating of wax to make it more water-proof and then assembled into the finished raincoat.

McCurdy has gone further than using algae in the jacket’s production – the entire jacket is made of algae, including all of the snaps and threads. Her studio also runs on renewable energy, and when she could not find a non-petroleum-based vegan wax, she developed an entirely plant-based waterproofing one.

According to McCurdy, the algae plastic, “is made of carbon that has been drawn from the carbon reservoir of the atmosphere and put into the stock of carbon of our built environment.” Thus, it not only keeps the wearer dry but removes carbon from the environment. The raincoat also helps raise awareness of the relationship between climate change, extreme weather and carbo emissions.

The algae raincoat is just one of several new innovations that use algae in fashion. Others recently highlighted at Springwise include a T-shirt made using algae and shoe soles.



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