Fiber Watch: Fabric From The Deep Blue Sea

SeaCell fiber makes the benefits of seaweed wearable. 

We usually obtain natural textiles from the fiber of earth-bound plants like cotton and bamboo or trees like eucalyptus and beech, but who would have thought of using the sea as source for nutrients that  can enhance our fibrous yarns and fabrics? German company smartfiber AG has taken on this challenge of scavenging the blue waters, and introduced seaweed as a material to be woven and blended with other fibers for fabrics that harness the benefits of deep-sea minerals and trace elements.

Enter SeaCell, a cellulose-based material that is mostly made up of the fiber from the eucalyptus tree and processed through the same method as Tencel. The eucalyptus fiber is combined with seaweed and turned into a fabric that contains numerous benefits for human skin. With a fiber structure that facilitates active exchange of nutrients between the skin and fabric, SeaCell releases nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin E (which is extremely beneficial for repairing stretched or damaged skin) onto the wearer.

Long considered a healing plant in Chinese medicine, seaweed can boost immune systems, reduce blood sugar, promote circulation and digestion, and revitalize skin, hair and nails. Seaweed constitutes around 5% of the SeaCell fiber, and although the number may seem small, its qualities are omnipotent. Known as an anti-inflammatory that activates cell regeneration and re-mineralizes the skin to protect the largest organ of the human body, who wouldn’t want to wear seaweed fabric?

The specific variety of seaweed used in SeaCell fiber is known as brown algae or knotted wrack, and is harvested from the northwestern shores of Iceland. The obtained seaweed is sushi grade and certified organic by the USDA. After harvest, the fresh seaweed is dried and crushed, then ground and introduced to the cellulose fiber in a way that binds the seaweed powder to the raw fiber.

The fiber is made entirely of renewable resources, and processed in closed-loop methods through Lenzing’s Tencel method, making it one of the most sustainable natural fibers to date. SeaCell has been awarded several certifications, including the EU’s EcoTex 100 standard and the EcoLabel, and is constantly tested for its benefits and lack of toxins from raw fiber to finished fabric.

SeaCell fiber can be blended with nearly any other type of fiber, rendering it applicable as a knit, woven or non-woven fabric. The resulting material is one of the most breathable and soft fabrics on the market, attracting the likes of sportswear and yoga attire manufacturers, as well as markets for sheets, towel, blankets and baby clothing.

The material is currently being used by various active wear manufactures that openly market their use of SeaCell, with lululemon, Orca triathlete outfitters, Adea yoga clothing & sleepwear, and Falke socks & hosiery already on the growing list. Fashion designer Christine Zillich, whose dress is pictured above, has created an entire collection out of the material, showcasing a range of beautiful designs fit for the earth-bound mermaid. So let the ocean feed and rejuvenate your skin to sea and feel the difference.