EXCLUSIVE: Katla to Support Sustainable Seaweed Cultivation in Latest Launch

·3 min read

American brand with Icelandic roots, Katla, is releasing its regeneration collection powered by seaweed.

For the campaign, Icelandic actress Ragga Ragnars (who plays Gunnhild in the History channel hit “Vikings”) sports the brand’s sweatsuit and T-shirts from the drop. The collection ranges in price from $175 for T-shirts and $475 for the limited-edition sweatsuit. The sweatsuits are a combination of 30 percent Seacell (a lyocell blended with seaweed powder), and a blended organic cotton for the remainder. The T-shirts are a blend of 20 percent Seacell and 80 percent organic cotton.

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In March, Katla launched its charitable NFTs in a digital collection timed with International Women’s Day, with a portion of proceeds benefiting ocean regeneration efforts, and the latest efforts are said to be another step in the regenerative direction.

“First of all, the seaweed that is being used in a lot of the fiber today comes from Iceland,” Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, Katla founder and chief executive officer, told WWD. Along with an NFT giveaway, the brand is putting down satellite offices in Sleepy Islands in Breiðafjörður (off the West Coast of Iceland). The setup for the seaweed cultivation is starting on the islands next week (barely off the heels of the birth of ​​Magnúsdóttir’s son Ocean). Similar to the last launch, 10 percent of proceeds from this latest collection will be invested in seaweed cultivation.

While conditions vary, sugar kelp typically grows up to 5 centimeters per day in ideal conditions. In a month, that growth registers 150 centimeters, or 5 feet. Compared to the efficacy of trees — which can be harvested for cellulosic fibers — seaweed is 20 to 46 percent times more effective, per Magnúsdóttir.

“There seems to be a need to throw the model on its head,” she said. “If people are going to be continuing to buy more — how do we change the industry so that it isn’t actually harming the planet? We are certainly not there yet, but if you think of that model in the future, that is a regenerative model. That is a place we’d love to get to.”

To get to that next stage, Katla is bringing on partners like Pyratex fabric mills, Karelia University in Finland and local entrepreneurs and scientists (given that lifecycle assessments on seaweed fiber remain sparse).

The seaweed sweatsuits will also bear unique QR codes on the sleeves which will come with exclusive content, including a unique one-of-a-kind NFT from Katla’s upcoming “Octoforce” NFT launch.

“Our goal with our first NFT drop would be to support cultivation across 60 acres of seaweed, and then take it from there,” Magnúsdóttir said, noting, however, “It’s still very early days. The initial signs are good. We know that seaweed itself has a very positive impact in terms of carbon sequestration. I think there’s still so much to learn in terms of once it’s put into the clothing, assessment of the total impact — I think not many people have [studied] the whole lifecycle — that’s certainly something important we want to do.”

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