Could seaweed clothing be the new hottest trend?

The material is tough and resilient and also eco-friendly and biodegradable.
The material is tough and resilient and also eco-friendly and biodegradable. Photo credit: Instagram @ctmccurdy

Seaweed clothing could be the new hottest trend - and no, it doesn't mean wrapping yourself in the soggy plant.

A team of researchers have used a 3D printer to convert algae into clothing material - something that could soon be the hottest thing in your wardrobe.

"Three-dimensional printing is a powerful technology for fabrication of living functional materials that have a huge potential in a wide range of environmental and human-based applications," according to the study published in the Advanced Functional Materials journal on Monday.

"A combination of living (microalgae) and nonliving (bacterial cellulose) components resulted in a unique material that has the photosynthesis quality of the algae and the bostness of the bacterial cellulose.

"The material is tough and resilient while also eco-friendly, biodegradable, and simple and scalable to produce."

In 2019, a New York designer created a raincoat made entirely of biopolymers derived from marine algae. 

"This jacket is carbon-negative because it is made of marine-algae that expands our ability to meet our needs with 'present-tense sunlight'," Charlotte McCurdy told Dezeen Magazine.

The algae are bound together by heat and poured into moulds and cured. Once solidified, the plastic is given a thin coating of wax to improve its resistance to water. From there, it can be cut or sewn into a finished product.

McCurdy hopes using a living component can replace all the petroleum based products that pile out landfills.

The fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions and 60 percent of its common manufactured fibres are petroleum-based.

"If we want to break our dependence on fossilised carbon, carbon sequestered by algae and turned into durable materials represents an opportunity we can't ignore."