Leather Alternatives

Polybion and Fashion for Good Join Forces to Drive Circular Fashion with Bacterial Leather

Spanish biomaterial company Polybion has announced that the global platform for circular fashion, Fashion for Good, has become its official partner and investor. 

The news comes after Polybion participated in the Fashion for Good 2023 Innovation Programme, an initiative that supports innovators and finds relevant industry partners to develop and launch products.

Polybion pioneers microbial fermentation and food waste upcycling to grow the next generation of vegan materials. The company’s first development, Celium, is a premium alternative to animal leather and petroleum-derived synthetics. 

Fashion for Good is building a global coalition of brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organizations, innovators, and funders to address the environmental impact of the fashion industry, from sourcing raw materials to retail. 

“As our official partner and investor, their credibility and impact are unparalleled, and together, we are shaping a more sustainable future for fashion,” says Polybion.

Different color samples of bacterial leather
© Polybion

Bacterial leather at industrial scale

Polybion utilizes food waste to nourish bacteria, which generate cellulose — an organic and biodegradable material serving as the foundation of Polybion’s vegan leather. 

Founded by brothers Axel and Alexis Gómez Ortigoza, Polybion raised $4.4 million to scale the production of its bacterial cellulose platform. The industrial-scale production plant, FOAK I (First-Of-A-Kind), is located in Irapuato, Mexico, near the fruit-packing, tanning, and footwear industries. 

The facility has specialized bioreactors that can create cellulose sheets as large as 1.40 square meters within seven to twenty-five days, depending on the desired thickness. Post development, the cellulose sheets undergo additional refinement utilizing animal leather machinery and optimized chromium-free eco-friendly chemistry.

Polybion says that what distinguishes its materials are the different tanning and finishing processes developed in-house that allow customizing the raw material with unique textures, colors, and properties, “setting a new standard for sustainable fashion innovation.”

>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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