Parley is proud to continue our partnership with Biofabricate and collaborate for the 2018 summit.
Join us at New Lab in Brooklyn on December 13 to be part of the revolution.
Plastic is a design failure that needs to be replaced – so what comes next? In the run-up to Biofabricate 2018 we’re catching up with some of the people and companies at the forefront of the Material Revolution. This week, we reached out to Aleks Gosiewski to learn more about how AlgiKnit are growing biodegradable yarn from a sustainable ocean material: kelp.
Why kelp – what inspired you to look at this material?
The ocean is a resource that has been overlooked in the fashion industry. Too often it is a place used to dispose of unwanted things. We see the ocean as a massive opportunity. Kelp grows in coastal waters all over the world at an incredible speed, translating into millions of kilos grown annually. Because it grows so fast, it also absorbs CO2 up to five times faster than land plants. It’s accessible, it’s abundant, and it doesn’t require any land to grow. Pretty cool.
What are the main challenges of turning it into yarn?
We’ve been making rapid progress over the last year on the base material, and the next step will be to move from our lab equipment to standard industrial spinning equipment. Not only will it help prepare us to scale, it will also improve the physical characteristics of the yarn. We’re lucky to have really knowledgeable people around as we make this jump.
What are its advantages?
There are quite a few! My favorite is that every ingredient can be naturally broken down and digested by organisms from all over the world. When we think about the effect that plastic pollution is having on marine life, and how hard it has been to keep plastics out of the environment, we see bio-digestible materials as a powerful way to protect these precious creatures.
What comes next – will it be hard to scale-up?
We are working very hard to prepare ourselves and plan for this next step. When it comes to scale-up, we are looking to work with manufacturers and suppliers that align with our company values.
What’s your favorite ocean creature?
Hands down the Sea Star! Often found in kelp forests and they have incredible resiliency with their ability to regenerate limbs.
Aleks and her colleagues Aaron and Tessa will be speaking more about their work at Biofabricate 2018, alongside Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch, Biofabricate’s Suzanne Lee and other key leaders in the field.