As clothing brands scramble to find sustainable ways to make their products, Vollebak has gotten in on the ground level with two organic substances that are both sustainable and effective — not to mention just better quality. Together, black algae and hemp produce more than half of the oxygen in the world and absorb considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. And now, the London-based clothing company is launching its latest collection that uses both of these incredible resources.
Along with killing weeds and cleaning up soil, hemp is one of the strongest fibers on earth, with 4 times the durability and 8 times the tensile strength of cotton. Stigmatization of the fabric over the decades had caused its production to be not only minuscule but expensive until recent years. Fortunately, Vollebak has used a heavy dose of it for its Black Algae Collection, which includes a hoodie, sweatpants, and t-shirt. The hoodie and sweatpants use a blend of 55% organic hemp and 45% organic cotton, grown in the Heilongjiang mountains in China. As for the t-shirt, the organic materials are sourced from the Himalayas and consist of 50% hemp, 40% cotton, and 10% elastane.
100% of the ink used in the collection is made from black algae grown in the United States, harvested in the giant ponds at the biomaterials company Living Ink. For nearly 100 years, any type of black ink, whether it’s used in cellphones, car tires, or clothing, is typically carbon black, which is sourced by extracting petroleum in a process that uproots vegetation and creates greenhouse gases through its manufacturing. Black algae, on the other hand, is beneficial for the environment. The plant’s byproduct is extracted using very little energy and then concentrated through heat into a black powder. Since black algae dye hasn’t been invented yet, the company prints the black pigment onto the hemp canvas and then UV treats it so the color lasts for years.
The Hemp and Black Algae Collection is available now through Vollebak’s online store, with the t-shirt priced at $110 and the hoodie and sweatpants each going for $375.