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A rain jacket made of sunflowers

Multidisciplinary designer Jess Redgrave developed a fibre for textiles, natural dyes and a hydrophobic coating made entirely of sunflowers.

Most rain jackets are made of some sort of plastic material or are made waterproof with fossil-based coatings. Both options are bad for the environment.

Sunflowers are used as part of regenerative agricultural systems, as they can be grown without fertilisers and their roots establish a symbiotic relationship with beneficial microbes, bacteria and fungi that promote healthy soils. In addition, they can withstand draughts.

With the project Climatefibre, Redgrave, along with scientists, uses enzymes derived from bacteria and fungi to a unique process to isolate cellulose fibres from sunflower stems. These fibres are then combed and spun into a yarn, then woven into a fabric. The hydrophobic coating is made from a by-product of the sunflower oil industry and provides water-resistant protection for natural fibres without the use of harmful chemicals. This coating allows the fabric to maintain its breathable qualities with minimal alteration to its aesthetics or hand feel.

For Climafibre, a colour palette was also developed, consisting of pigments extracted from various parts of the flower. They can be used as a natural alternative for textile dyes and printing, free from fossil fuels.

Photos: Jesse Redgrave