Algae-based fabric designer envisions consumers one day watering their clothes

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In Canada, a designer has partnered with researchers at the University of British Columbia to create an air-purifying, algae-based fabric. Dubbed Biogarmentry, the living Chlamydomonas reinhardtii undergoes photosynthesis, removing carbon from the atmosphere in the process.

Designer Roya Aghighi tells CNN one of her main goals was to reduce the environmental impact of the textiles.  According to the United Nations, fashion is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gasses emitted globally. Aghighi hopes more awareness of fast fashion’s impact will change consumer habits. “It is going to be a slow shift,” she said. “But I hope that it’s gonna be a long-lasting one.”

As the algae grows, the fabric changes color and shapes. Consumers will have to water the garment and expose it to sun to keep it alive. “I’m not saying that your clothes should be your pets,” she said. “I mean, to be honest, secretly, I do say that.”