Monday, May 20, 2024

Keel Labs and Mr. Bailey Partner on Seaweed Vest: ‘Impactful Design Starts at the Material Level’


Keel Labs, together with product designer Mr. Bailey, have launched the Starboard Vest, crafted from Keel’s algae-based Kelsun fiber.

Today, in Morrisville, North Carolina, Keel Labs and Daniel Bailey, better known as Mr. Bailey, are showcasing the potential of Keel’s innovative seaweed Kelsun material through a custom-designed vest crafted from the fiber by Bailey. The launch highlights Keel Labs’ commitment to revolutionizing textile production with sustainable, biodegradable solutions. The vest’s design promotes biomimicry and allows Bailey to integrate his philosophy of drawing inspiration from nature into wearable technology. Bailey is known for his work that takes inspiration from the marine life cycles in jellyfish, which he has used in an evolving, generative design language in footwear.

“I genuinely believe that impactful design starts at the material level,” Bailey said in a statement. “Collaborating with the team at Keel Labs has been enlightening — they’re not only harnessing seaweed to create fibers but are also intelligently integrating these innovations into current textile production processes.”

Tessa Callaghan, Co-Founder & CEO of Keel Labs, praised Bailey’s vision to bring Kelsun to life in the Starboard Vest. “Through Mr. Bailey’s vision, we were able to push Kelsun beyond its creative limits — creating a truly unique design that unites next-gen materials, biomimicry, and the art of garment construction,” she said.

Aditi Mayer for Keel Labs
Aditi Mayer and Keel Labs partnered on a shirt made from its seaweed material | Courtesy

The Kelsun fiber is unique in that it does not leave toxic residue, offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fabrics that often rely on harmful chemicals. The Starboard Vest combines a 50/50 blend of Kelsun fiber and cotton, featuring a three-layer knit structure. It employs a trapunto stitching method to enhance the outer shell and ribs, creating a distinctive silhouette reminiscent of maritime life vests. Mr. Bailey expanded the use of Kelsun by filling the vest entirely with this fiber, enhancing its form and function as a tribute to marine safety gear. Keel Labs joins a roster of companies exploring textile innovation with a focus on reducing environmental impact. In January, it partnered with climate and fashion activist Aditi Mayer on a shirt made from its seaweed material.

Bailey says he found inspiration in Keel Labs’ name, as it is connected to shipbuilding, with a ‘keel’ serving as the structural spine of a ship, uplifting and maintaining forward momentum. Bailey says it’s the mix of idealism and pragmatism that resonates. “I’m thankful to Keel Labs for allowing my team and I the liberty to explore the potential of Kelsun fiber and demonstrate just a glimpse of what their material can achieve,” he said.

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