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Purpose/Impact

The team, a collaboration between scientists and designers, is on a mission to rescue the planet from the enormously harmful effects of sourcing raw materials for the fashion industry.  By iterating chemical synthesis, modification, and mechanical testing, AlgiKnit has advanced its bioyarn to have mechanical properties (strength, stretch, toughness) comparable to conventional textile fibers such as cotton and polyester.   A goal of the project is to produce a kelp-based bioyarn with the durability and flexibility that would be capable of withstanding the pressure of industrial knitting machines.

Outcomes/Accomplishments

Among their many achievements, the team has been keynote speakers at MAGIC, a leading fashion industry tradeshow. They were invited to exhibit at The Clinton Global Initiative. The team is the winner of the National Geographic “Chasing Genius” award that included a prize of $25,000. A panel composed of a scientist, an agriculturalist and other experts selected the project from among thousands of game-changing ideas for first place in the Sustainable Planet category of NatGeo’s Chasing Genius Challenge. AlgiKnit was also selected for a grant from the London-based RebelBio Accelerator program. AlgiKnit was on the top 20 shortlist, out of 2,600 entries from 151 countries, for the H& M Global Challenge Award.

Status Update

Since the inception of the project, the students have graduated. Because of the viability of this concept and the commitment of this team to make a difference in fashion production, the students have assumed full-time roles within the business. AlgiKnit is still gaining interest from industry and funding research sources to support its efforts to contribute to a sustainable future. FIT continues to support the research of AlgiKnit.

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