Alganyl: Cooking Sustainable Clothing
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In this article, we introduce Alganyl, a biotextile created through the embodied knowledge of cooking. Based on existing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) recipes for bioplastics, Alganyl is made from renewable resources, feels like vinyl, and can be re-used before ultimately being composted. We outline three guiding principles for designing with Alganyl: materiality, accessibility, and sustainability. Our replicable process involves cooking Alganyl in the designer’s kitchen, followed by cutting and heat-sealing to create clothing. We apply these guiding design principles and processes to make three articles of Alganyl clothing including a dress, a shirt, and a skirt. Lastly, we address the life cycle of Alganyl, paying particular attention to the clothing’s end of life, which we approach through re-cooking and biodegradation (60 days to degrade 97%). Through our experiences with Alganyl, we believe that it has the potential to bring a future where clothing is an autonomous form of self-expression that has minimal impact on the environment.
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