Plant & Algae T-shirt
Law of Return - A biodegradable and plant & Algae t-shirt
Nick and Steve Tidbal
The Plant and Algae T-shirt doesn’t start life like any other piece of clothing. It’s built from pulped eucalyptus and beech from sustainably managed forests and algae grown in bioreactors. You can think of algae as a space-age material that just happens to be 1.5 billion years old. As the original source of all plant life on the planet, it consumes carbon dioxide, produces up to 80% of the oxygen on Earth, and even holds the key to our survival on other planets. So having already put man-made supermaterials like graphene and carbon fibre into clothing, we wanted to start the journey of getting algae into clothing too. As the Plant and Algae t-Shirt is made from nature it doesn’t end its life like any other piece of clothing either. When you’ve finished with the t-shirt it biodegrades in the earth in 12 weeks and turns into worm food – you can either bury it in your garden or put it out with the compost.
In every industry, there’s someone building the future, whether it’s technology, architecture, food, cars or space rockets. In clothing it’s us. Founded by twin brothers, designers and athletes Nick and Steve Tidball, we use science and technology to make the future of clothing – creating gear that no one else can or will.
2019 represents a milestone in the story of Vollebak, and an important moment in the history of clothing and technology. Having created the world’s first Graphene Jacket1 using the only material in the world with a Nobel Prize, we’ve gone on to release 100 Year clothing designed to outlive you, a Plant and Algae T Shirt grown in forests and bioreactors that turns into worm food, and our Black Squid Jacket which mimics the adaptive camouflage of the squid by reflecting every colour in the visible spectrum.
It led Esquire to write that “Vollebak aims to do for outdoor clothing what Tesla did for cars and El Bulli did for food, using science, wit and imagination to create products no-one thought possible.”
When we launched the Graphene Jacket our aim was simple – increase the speed at which we bring intelligent clothing into existence by taking graphene out of the lab and into the world by opening up our R&D process. It’s why Fast Company described it as magical5 and “more akin to a hackathon than a fashion design process.”
It followed on from our 2018 release of our Solar Charged Jacket6 which won Time Magazine’s Best Inventions, to go with Wired’s Gear of the Year and a win at Fast Company’s Innovation by Design awards for its ability to store and re-emit sunlight.
Quantum leaps in technology are required for a lot of our gear – new production methods, or entirely new materials which have never been seen before. So while we launch new concepts nearly every month, every piece takes between one and five years to make.
Our mission is clear – we make clothing for the smartest, most hardcore guys on the planet. The ones who 50,000 years ago would have left their caves first, and who 20 to 30 years from now will be on the first rockets to Mars.
Goal 12 wants to make us think twice about the things we use, the waste we create, and how that impacts the planet. Changing our behaviour towards more sustainable actions such as recycling really makes a difference when everyone -that includes individuals, companies, government - contributes.