London – Graduate designer Randa Kherba is exploring eco-conscious alternatives to synthetically produced outdoor gear.
The Algear project, which the designer created as part of her MA Material Futures course, posits the use of algae as a bio-positive material suitable for varying climates. While synthetics such as polyurethane and Gore-tex currently dominate the market for protective outdoor products, Algear instead utilises a naturally occurring blue-green algae, cyanobacteria. Its photosynthetic abilities and resilient composition, as well as fast growth rate, mean that products created with the material are sustainable.
‘Algear proposes a future where outdoor gear that protects us from the elements can be created and produced with elements that are abundant to us or with what is left from the past,’ comments Rhanda Kherba. ‘This project contributes to the importance of the leave-no-trace code, through growing a material that naturally biodegrades and nourishes the land in the process, allowing for the conservation of an ecological future through our transient adventures outdoors.’
This material innovation suggests a future where single-use outdoor and camping equipment is less harmful to the environment.