RISD grad designs algae raincoat

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In New York, designer Charlotte McCurdy has debuted a raincoat made from algae. The Rhode Island School of Design graduate tells dezeen the coat is carbon-negative because the algae consumes carbon dioxide before being made into bioplastic.

“This algae plastic is made of carbon that has been drawn from the carbon reservoir of the atmosphere and put into the stock of carbon of our built environment,” she says. She created the coat using the bioplastic and molds. The resulting coat is then coated with wax to make it water-resistant.

“I developed an entirely plant-based waterproofing wax because everything available in the market or published formulas were either petroleum-based, relying on paraffin, or not vegan, relying on beeswax,” she adds.  “All of the threads and fasteners that bring the jacket together are also fossil-carbon-free.”

She notes that algae are an ideal material because of its abundance. “If we want to break our dependence on fossilized carbon, carbon sequestered by algae and turned into durable materials represents an opportunity we cannot ignore,” she says.

The garment is being displayed at a Cooper Hewitt design exhibit focusing on the planet-saving power of design.