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Steve Tidball of Vollebak On the Future of Clothing & Exotic Materials

Steve Tidball—the CEO and co-founder of Vollebak—is passionate about leveraging technology and science to create the clothing of the future. He and his brother co-founded the apparel brand in 2016 and have completely shaken up the industry. They focus on creating clothing from exotic materials such as graphene and algae, each with its own unique purpose.  How did their business come about? What sparked the idea to launch something so revolutionary? Learn more as Steve and I chat about the future of the clothing industry, science & technology, and Steve’s love for uncommon materials. It’s a fascinating take on an industry that has gone untouched for far too long.  Outline of This Episode [0:17] I learn how Steve Tidball was inspired to launch Vollebak [3:40] Vollebak: extreme clothing for extreme conditions [5:25] Experimenting with uncommon and exotic materials - why? [14:50] It’s only relevant if it’s actually adopted [16:47] Their journey from advertising to innovative clothing [21:10] A brand for a dystopian tomorrow [27:00] We finished our jacket, how’s your rocket going? [28:50] How Steve’s childhood influences the present [35:25] Steve’s vision for the future of the company [38:08] Influencing how you perceive clothing [42:00] Increased transparency in the apparel industry [43:30] What materials will Steve try next? The roots of the futuristic apparel company Vollebak  Steve and his brother, Nick, spend their free time racing ultra-marathons around the world and always find themselves competing in extreme conditions. While preparing for a race across the Namib desert in Namibia, they stumbled upon their first idea. They spent a night tossing and turning, unable to sleep as they anticipated the 24-hour trek in 130-degree heat that they would be attempting the next day. What if a piece of clothing could solve their problem? What if they designed something that could help calm their nerves and let them sleep? 5 years later, they launched their Baker Miller Relaxation Hoodie. It’s engineered as an ‘isolation tank’ that is able to lower your heart rate and slow your brainwaves, improving your ability to sleep. Now, Steve and Nick focus on creating clothing out of exotic materials by meshing their love for design, technology, and the latest scientific breakthroughs. The future of clothing is in exotic materials Adventure sports athletes are often in conditions where they are risking their lives on a daily basis. They need their clothing to perform at the highest level. Vollebak strives to create clothing of fabrics that will protect these extreme athletes in the worst of conditions. But they also desire to remake each piece of your wardrobe in an interesting and memorable way. They have a long history of being maverick inventors and prefer to push the limit, doing what hasn’t been done before. That’s why they launched a jacket coated in graphene—an allotrope of carbon that is 100x stronger than steel. They also designed their Solar Charged jacket that stores and re-emits light at night (akin to a firefly). They even created a t-shirt made of pulped eucalyptus, beech, and algae that is completely biodegradable. I myself recently purchased their indestructible puffer jacket, constructed with Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber.  Steve points out that they aren’t creating anything new. These are all materials that have been used before—just not in clothing. They love when people tell them it’s impossible to create clothing from these materials. They enjoy the challenge of proving the naysayers wrong. They make the impossible possible with their revolutionary designs. Listen to hear some of the amazing applications of their jackets and how they’ve even saved lives.  Their journey from advertising to the apparel industry Before Steve and Nick dove into apparel, they started

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