20 AUGUST 2020

Vollebak: From Plants and Algae To T-shirts

Vollebak has launched a T-shirt made entirely from wood pulp and algae, which breaks down in just few weeks.

Vollebak Plant Algae T-shirt sustainable apparel

All images and videos © Vollebak

Sustainability has been a major goal for many countries, and continues to become a necessary aspect for progressing forward. A lot of startups have taken up initiatives that tackle various issues in the economy and society, to make a change in the environmental-front.From Deep Sleep Cocoon for the first mission to Mars to the toughest t-shirt on Earth, Carbon Fiber T-Shirt, Vollebak has raised the bar for apparel design way higher than one would imagine. 
Founded by twin brothers, designers and athletes Nick and Steve Tidball, Vollebak use science and technology to create clothing. Vollebak has launched a T-shirt made entirely from wood pulp and algae, which breaks down in just few weeks. The wood pulp is from eucalyptus, beech and spruce trees, sourced from forests managed with sustainable approaches. The pulp is turned into fiber, then yearn and finally fabric.

The t-shirt design has a green block that is created using algae grown in bioreactors using a process that turns algae plant into a printable ink. A similar process was used by Berlin-based algae pioneers Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber to recreated a technique used in Kenya to create algae cake. Vollebak worked with the duo to create algae ink.  

Algae cannot survive once it’s removed from water, so the algae on the t-shirt is no longer alive. Since it’s a plant-based color rather than chemical dye, the natural pigment in algae is more sensitive and starts to oxidize as soon as it comes to contact with air, causing the green color to change over time. The rest of the shirt is not dyed and is left white. The off-white color of the shirt is simply from the color of fibers that have been made from tree pulp.

The Plant and Algae T Shirt feels and lasts as long as any regular t-shirt.  What makes this product unique is the production and end-of-life process. Being a product that is completely made from all-natural materials, the t-shirt can be simply buried in the ground or put out in the compost to start the bio-degradation process. The process of breaking down begins once the product receives fungus, bacteria, and heat from the Earth. Unlike products like t-shirts made using carbon fiber, and ceramics by Vollebak, the Plant and Algae t-shirt is very light and soft. 

Vollebak launches unique clothing, fresh concepts for clothing every month, something that they or anyone as  never tried before. Check out their collection online.