Seawool: A Sustainable and Functional Cape Made from Recycled Oyster Shells

Transforming Waste into Fashion

In Taiwan, more than 160,000 tons of oysters are consumed annually, resulting in a significant environmental issue with oyster shell waste. To address this problem, designers Chungsheng Chen, Eddie Wang, and Enyang Chen have developed Seawool, a functional cape made from specially treated oyster shells and recycled PET bottles. This innovative design not only reduces waste but also offers a range of performance benefits, making it a sustainable and fashionable choice for conscious consumers.

Seawool is a lightweight cape weighing only 300 grams, making it easy to handle and wear. It is crafted from Seawool yarn, a unique blend of nanolized oyster shell powder from discarded shells and recycled PET bottle plastic. The combination of these materials enhances the cape's functionality, providing thermal regulation, odor resistance, moisture management, and quick-drying properties. Additionally, Seawool is anti-static and antibacterial, without the need for chemical antibacterial agents, making it gentle on the skin.

The production process of Seawool involves washing and drying the oyster shells before calcining them at 100°C for five hours. The shells are then ground to a thickness below 1 μm to create oyster shell powder. This powder is mixed with recycled PET and spun into yarn, which is ultimately woven into fabric. The resulting material has a soft woolen touch, providing a luxurious feel to the cape.

Seawool is available in five colors, allowing users to match their outfit and style. Its rectangular shape makes it versatile for various occasions, whether it be in the office, at the beach, on the sofa, or even on the bed. The cape is not only a fashion statement but also a conscious choice for those who prioritize sustainability.

The Seawool project began in April 2022 and was published in January 2023 in Tainan, Taiwan. It is currently available for purchase on the zeczec crowdfunding platform. The design team, consisting of Chungsheng Chen, Eddie Wang, Enyang Chen, Tingyuan Lin, and the Tainan University of Technology Product Design Department, collaborated with Acdesign Associates International Co., Ltd, Creative Tech Textile Co., Ltd, and Hans Global LLC to bring this innovative design to life.

Seawool is the result of extensive research and development, aiming to utilize recycled plastic PET bottles and oyster shells to create a special yarn for textile applications. The designers were inspired by the wool-like construction and feel of the material, which led to the name Seawool. By repurposing discarded shells, Seawool not only reduces waste but also offers performance benefits that enhance the wearer's experience.

The Seawool project faced the challenge of turning waste into treasure. Despite the popularity of oyster farming in Taiwan, the issue of shell wastage had been largely overlooked. Through years of research and study, the design team successfully harnessed the potential of discarded shells and combined them with recycled PET bottles to create Seawool, a truly sustainable material from the ocean.

Seawool has been recognized for its innovative and sustainable design, receiving the Bronze A' Design Award in the Sustainable Products, Projects, and Green Design category in 2023. This prestigious award acknowledges designs that demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, and a commitment to improving the quality of life. Seawool's incorporation of best practices in art, science, design, and technology makes it a valuable contribution to a more sustainable future.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: ChungSheng Chen
Image Credits: image#1~#5: acdesign associates International Co.,Ltd.
Project Team Members: ChungSheng Chen Eddie Wang Enyang Chen Tingyuan Lin Tainan University of Technology Product Design Dept Acdesign Associates International Co.,Ltd Creative Tech Textile Co., Ltd Hans Global LLC.
Project Name: Seawool
Project Client: ChungSheng Chen

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