Firefighter Gear & Bulletproof Vest Garbage Sweater

Posted: July 15, 2021
Firefighter Gear & Bulletproof Vest Garbage Sweater
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Vollebak's latest inspiration: landfills. The Garbage Sweater is woven from old, discarded firefighter suits and bulletproof vests - items that, having outlived their useful life, were headed to die in the dump. So in an (albeit attention-seeking and expensive) effort to reuse some of this waste filling the Hell humans have created for Mother Nature, Vollebak has transformed it into "a warm, soft, fire-resistant sweater."

Vollebak chose firefighter suits and bulletproof vests because they're made of aramid fibers, textile elements designed to serve and protect, but because of their durability and hardiness, won't decompose for hundreds of years. You can't incinerate them either because, uh, they're obviously made not to burn.

Vollebak creates their Garbage Sweater fabric in France, where they say 500 tons of firefighter gear are thrown away each year. 70% of the sweater material is from these suits - more specifically their flame-resistant meta-aramid fibers. The other 30% comes from the para-aramid fibers of bulletproof vests. Para-aramid is similar to meta-aramid, but spun differently to create its incredible tensile strength, 8 layers of which are strong enough to stop a bullet.

That said, the Garbage Sweater isn't bulletproof, though it does retain some of the meta-aramid abilities to repel fire.

Vollebak says the Garbage Sweater is part of an ongoing exploration of reusing discarded items by changing our perspective of them. That is, instead of thinking of garbage and as garbage, looking at it as "simply pre-assembled raw materials that we can use to make new things."

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