Fashion, Design & Beauty

High-Tech Jackets Made of Synthetic Spider Silk

Spider silk, a new and innovative fabric from the Japanese company Spiber, is conquering the world of sports fashion.

Spider webs, an unwelcome visitor in every home, have far more potential than their unpleasant appearance might suggest. Spiber – a biotechnology company from Japan – has discovered how to spin its own fibres. After 11 years of research into the properties of this material, a process to produce spider silk synthetically has now been developed.

The silk fibre is obtained from synthetic silk proteins using a complex microbial fermentation and spinning process. The process is environmentally friendly, and the end product is highly adaptable. Compared to petroleum-based synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon, the spider fibre is of a higher quality. It is extremely resilient and can withstand high friction. These amazing properties and its balance between practicality and eco-friendliness make it particularly suitable for industrial and outdoor clothing.

Innovation through collaboration

Spiber has distinguished itself in the past by collaborating with industrial heavyweights. In 2016, for example, the company developed the Kinetic Seat Concept with Lexus; this is an ergonomic seat which reduces fatigue during car journeys and stabilises the body thanks to the integrated spider silk protein QMONOS™ .

Spiber has also entered into another innovative collaboration with Goldwin – a traditional Japanese ski clothing and lifestyle label. In winter 2019, the highly practical ski jacket MOON PARKA™, which is based on the design of the well-known North Face Antarctica Parka, is to be launched. The outer material of the parka will consist entirely of QMONOS silk protein fibres. As the fibre is 340 times harder than steel, the jacket will be able to withstand extreme wear and tear. Spiber has carefully selected and evaluated the appropriate protein for this purpose from its database. The prototype of the Moon Parka, presented as early as 2015, is the first of its garments to be manufactured commercially. This year, the prototype has been nominated for the prestigious Beazley Designs of the Year Award, and was on display at the Design Museum in London until January 9th 2019.

Spiber is breaking new ground with its industrial collaborations and production processes. It is clear from its corporate vision that it intends to create a climate-friendly material which is renewable, sustainable and doesn’t depend on fossil fuels. We hope to see many more fashion collaborations involving these environmental pioneers in the future.

This article was written by Franziska Walser, co-founder of Faloa – the online shop for vegan, sustainable and fair fashion. (Launch February 2019)

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