Some fashion brands take no prisoners with their designs and aren’t afraid to push the envelope with regard to the materials that they use to construct their apparel.
The guys at Vollebak are pioneers at this and one of their most recent pieces of outerwear, the Graphene Jacket, is a fine example of their desire to be different. This fantastic looking jacket boasts a thoroughly impressive performance that sets it apart and it is billed as part jacket and part science experiment. Most interestingly of all, this bonkers but brilliant offering from Vollebak is the only jacket in the world made from a material that won a Nobel Prize.
Needless to say, the Vollebak Graphene Jacket isn’t your average piece of apparel. Whilst graphene is completely invisible and only a single atom thick, which makes it the lightest, strongest, most conductive material ever discovered. But it remains difficult to work with, extremely expensive to produce at scale, and lives mostly in pioneering research labs. Given the rarity of the material used in its creation, you won’t be surprised to hear the Vollebak Graphene Jacket has a hefty price tag of £525 but it’s worth the money just as a talking point alone – let alone the magnificent performance it delivers.
Vollebak are releasing these graphene-coated jackets into the world as experimental prototypes. It is their aim to increase the speed at which they bring bionic clothing into existence by getting graphene out of the lab and into the world by opening up their R&D practices. Graphene is quite simply the thinnest possible layer of graphite, which is the stuff used to make pencils. When graphite is reduced to a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon formation, it turns into a supermaterial unlike anything ever known before – it’s so incredibly strong and so stretchy that the fibres of a spider web coated in graphene could catch a falling plane.
The Vollebak Graphene Jacket (£525) is a fully reversible piece of outerwear with a waterproof zipper with one side built from a graphene and polyurethane membrane and the other constructed from 85% nylon and 15% elastane. It is waterproof to 10,000mm and has a RET12 breathability rating which essentially means that it’s very breathable indeed. Extremely lightweight, the Vollebak Graphene Jacket weighs in at a mere 370g and it comes with a peaked hood with elasticated drawcord for added adjustability.
With the graphene side of this jacket boasting a gun-metal grey aesthetic, the non-graphene side is matt black and made from high-strength, high-stretch nylon. Depending on which way around you wear it and what you do in it, the jacket will interact with your body and the world around it in a series of different ways. Due to the fact the jacket is reversible, this means the pockets are too. The pockets work whichever way round you’ve got it on with every panel of the jacket cut with lasers. The graphene is so expensive that wasting it really is not an option for Vollebak.
State of the Art Apparel
Most brands wouldn’t dream of making apparel this complex but Vollebak have always dared to be different and the end result is awesome pieces of outerwear like this Graphene Jacket. You can heat the jacket up by leaving it out in the sun or over a radiator with the graphene side exposed to the heat source. If you then turn it inside out and wear the graphene next to your skin it acts like a radiator, retaining its heat and spreading it around your body.
While the graphene membrane has a slightly rubberised feel, the black side of the jacket feels both soft and smooth. It’s crafted from a lightweight Italian-made matt black nylon that’s robust, windproof, lightweight and mixed with 15% elastane so that every part of the jacket has an impressive amount of stretch. With welded eyelets under the arms, laser cut and bonded cuffs, elastic drawcords on the hood and waist and articulated sleeves designed for training, the fit is more like a lightweight running jacket than a ski shell.