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Algae on the Runway (but not the airport)

While there’s been a lot of effort in the algae industry to produce aviation biofuels from algae, today we’re talking about algae on a different type of runway – the fashion scene. The clothes that you are currently wearing could be the most toxic items that you encounter today.

550 types of dyes and over 3,000 chemicals including carcinogenic chemicals, hormone disruptors or heavy metals once used by the textile industry are now being restricted by laws in various countries. Consumers are increasingly demanding that their clothing, furniture and other daily products not pose a health risk.

But according to the Berlin-based design studio, Blond & Bieber, “All that’s needed is some algae” to reduce the prevalence of toxic substances in everyday products, including clothing.

Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber from Blond & Bieber researched the various microalgae species found throughout Europe to discover how the diversity of colors found within algae species can be used to make textiles.

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Forget alchemy – Glomb and Weber are using “Algaemy.” According to an article by Sydney Brownstone in Fast Company, “Unlike light-stable dyes normally used on clothes, the algaemy colors change over time. A green might fade to a blue, for example.” Weber calls this phenomenon “living colors.”

You can watch Glomb and Weber grow algae and paste designs onto textiles here.

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