“Sequins are synonymous with plastic waste,” says the renowned designer Phillip Lim about an endeavor to combat the tremendous amount of pollution generated every year by the fashion industry. He is part of the 2020 cohort for One X one-on Slow Factory Foundation Initiative that brings together scientists and designers with a view to regenerative technologies, fair production and circular economy models – with whom he has worked Charlotte McCurdy, a researcher who has done a wide variety of sustainable fashion projects. Together they have created a luxurious A-line dress that is covered with algae sequins and is free from petroleum and other synthetic materials.
In their partnership, the duo moved on McCurdy’s trial Pulling carbon from the atmospheric reservoir and binding the organic matter along with heat, a method she had previously used to create it a waterproof raincoat made from marine microalgae. The bioplastic is then poured into custom shapes and created in sheets, which the couple cut into long, arched sequins. Since the algae-derived substance was unsuitable for the form of clothing, Lim and McCurdy obtained a mesh base from PYRATEX, a Madrid-based brand specializing in algae and bamboo fibers SeaCell It is both an antiperspirant and a thermoregulatory agent.
Speckled with mother-of-pearl near the neckline, the resulting dress is covered in the translucent green border, a color McCurdy organically derived from minerals. “Most of our modern dyes and pigments are petrochemical,” she said Dezeen. “But before the industrial revolution, we had a huge, rich color vocabulary that didn’t suck up fossil fuels. That’s why I looked at traditional approaches to making oil paints that used mineral pigments.”
Lim and McCurdy’s design is not commercially available, but will serve as a prototype for making clothes in the future. For similar initiatives, check out the other two projects created by the 2020 Cohort Leather sneakers grown from bacteria and an apprenticeship in a sustainable way for women from low-income and immigrant communities One X One site.
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