The fashion industry is responsible for as much as 10% of annual CO2 emissions and an immense amount of waste that chokes landfills, rivers, and beaches worldwide. Too much of our clothing is made from oil-based textiles, like polyester. Tessa Callaghan, cofounder and CEO of Keel Labshas been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 leader for her contributions to plant-based fashion. The Morrisville, North Carolina-based early-stage startup has developed a kelp-based alternative called Kelsun. According to the company, Kelsun is a compostable, soft natural fiber that can be integrated into the clothing production system with no changes. The result is clothing as comfortable and durable as those made with water-intensive cotton or oil-based textiles.

Tessa Callaghan, Cofounder and CEO of Keel Labs, is our guest on Sustainability In Your Ear.

After beginning her career in the fashion industry, Tessa recognized the growing demand for sustainable alternatives to clothing that’s bad for the environment at every step in the lifecycle. Keel Labs converts kelp into Kelsun, and the resulting fiber is compostable at the end of its useful life, making it a potentially circular material we can be proud to wear. You can learn more about Keel Labs at

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.