Keel Labs and Mr. Bailey Debut the Starboard Vest

Published by
Keel Labs
April 29, 2024

Today, Keel Labs and product designer Mr. Bailey debuted the Starboard Vest, a garment made from Kelsun™ fiber. Generated from a mutual desire to apply biomimicry to real-world products, the partnership granted creative freedom to Mr. Bailey while designing a one-of-a-kind piece from Kelsun, Keel Labs’ flagship fiber made from seaweed.

While Keel Labs’ mission is to harness the radical potential of the ocean to transform the textile industry and the world, Daniel Bailey, better known as Mr. Bailey, uses nature to inform his design philosophy – most notably in his work using marine life cycles in jellyfish to inspire an evolving, generative design language in footwear.

Kelsun’s oceanic origins and Keel Labs’ desire to offer designers a more sustainable alternative to conventional materials made the partnership a natural fit, expanding Mr. Bailey’s design work at the intersection of nature and technology.

Through his research, Mr. Bailey found inspiration in Keel Labs’ name. The root of Keel Labs’ name hails from shipbuilding, with a ‘keel’ serving as the structural spine of a ship, uplifting and maintaining forward momentum. Mr. Bailey studied the etymology of this word, exploring new contexts for the Keel Labs name, as well as new design possibilities for Kelsun fiber in the form of an experimental garment.

“I genuinely believe that impactful design starts at the material level. 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. It's this mix of idealism and pragmatism that resonates with me. 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,” said Mr. Bailey.

The Starboard Vest was knit with a 50/50 Kelsun fiber and cotton blend. It has 3 successive layers of different knit constructions, and utilizes a trapunto technique to connect the vest's exterior shell and contrasting ribs. In an effort to further explore the versatility of Kelsun, Mr. Bailey chose to fill the vest with 100% Kelsun fiber to inflate the vest’s shape and structure – an homage to life vests found onboard marine vessels.

“It was a privilege to work with Mr. Bailey to bring his vision of Kelsun to life in the thoughtful and detailed execution of 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.” said Tessa Callaghan, Keel Labs’ Co-Founder & CEO.

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