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| 1 minute read

Seaweed: Catnip for the Catwalk?

Start spreading the news… it's fashion week in New York and I happen to be here! Although I didn't come for the couture, I have already managed a sneaky peek through a grubby window into a glitzy and glamorous fashion show and seen many fashionistas as I make my way through the streets, searching for a nice cup of tea.  

So what is in vogue in 2024? Sustainable fashion is! And whilst there is an ocean of different ethically sourced and sustainably produced materials out there, seaweed is one in particular that is really making waves. Seaweed cultivation needs minimal resources and does not compete with food crops, making it an environmentally friendly option. Not just an alternative, seaweed-derived textiles can actually provide better fabrics for the job. Seaweed textiles offer several advantages, including breathability, moisture-wicking, and hypoallergenic properties. Several fashion brands are now incorporating seaweed fibres into clothing, accessories, and even packaging. 

One such seaweed-derived fabric is a kelp-based yarn called Kelsun™️, which is produced by Keel Labs and used by Stella McCartney in some of her hand-crocheted fashion pieces. These were showcased at her ‘Material Innovations Exhibit’ at COP28, in Dubai. Kelsun uses 70 times less water than conventional cotton, and 100-percent less land and pesticide use.  

While challenges such as cost and scalability remain, the interest in seaweed-based textiles reflects a broader shift towards sustainable fashion practices, also reflected in the pressures faced by the dye industry to use more sustainable processes and materials (see Mairi Rudkin's article “Fashion: Dyeing for a change”). By embracing such materials, the fashion industry can reduce its environmental footprint and contribute to a greener future. 


Sustainability , Sustainable Materials, Polymers, chemistry, climate change, energy & environment, fashion & retail, patents, yes