Sequins have long been a source of concern for environmentally conscious fashion designers. Made of tiny bits of shiny or translucent plastic, they are a significant contributor to ocean microplastics and fashion-derived plastic waste. Designers Charlotte McCurdy and Phillip Lim have created a couture dress made of algae sequins to address this very issue, proving that fashionable materials like sequins don’t have to come at a cost to the environment.
Inspired by the different shades of green that occur in nature and the process of photosynthesis, the dress is made from layers of algae bioplastic sewn onto a base fabric made from biodegradable plant fibers. This base fabric is supplied by textile company PYRATES and is both an antiperspirant and thermoregulating material. The dress is entirely carbon-neutral and free from synthetic plastics or dyes.
Charlotte McCurdy is an interdisciplinary designer based in New York who is passionate about using design to address global threats like climate change. McCurdy is known for her “After Ancient Sunlight” project, where she created a water-resistant raincoat from a material developed from algae that naturally sequesters carbon from the atmosphere.
Phillip Lim is the recipient of several industry honors including the Fashion Group International’s Women’s Designer ‘Rising Star’ Award, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear and the CFDA Award for Accessories Designer of the Year. He is the creative director and co-founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim.
The dress is part of the One X One Project, a conscious design initiative organized by Slow Factory Foundation. The program pairs scientists with designers to create news ways to incorporate circularity, equitable design and regenerative technologies into the fashion industry. One X One is also partnered by Swarovski and the United Nations Office for Partnerships.
Images via Charlotte McCurdy