Biomaterials are all the rage right now. Last week, five lucky startups was awarded the Global Change Award in Stockholm, Sweden. And three of them are in the biomaterials area: Green Nettle Texile who makes a linen like textile fiber using nettles; Dimpora, who makes a biodegradable surface material for outdoor wear and Le Qara who makes a lab grown vegan leather using microorganisms from flowers and fruit.
But it wasn’t only biomaterials that got awarded last week. Circular Fashion actually got the biggest grant of €300 000 for their tech solution for garment circularity, while Petit Pli make children’s clothes with an origami technique that allows the garment to adjust to the growing child.
The Global Change Award winners of 2019 having a selfie moment.
Photo cred: H&M Foundation
H&M are going biotech. With their new Conscious Exclusive collection, presented in LA last week, they are introducing three new innovative biomaterials. This season they’re using Italian company Orange Fiber’s silky fabric made from citrus by-products, Piñatex’s alternative to natural leather made from cellulose fibers from pineapple leaves, and Bloom Foam’s flexible foam material made from algaes.
All three companies make use of already existing resources to make new materials, while at the same time contributing to other good causes.
Orange Fiber (awarded H&M Foundations Global Change Award in 2015) use byproducts from juice production that would otherwise go to waste, while Bloom Foam turn harmful algal bloom into footwear, helping clean waters in the process. On their end, Piñatex use byproducts from agriculture while at the same time creating an additional source of income for the agricultural workers.
Pieces from H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive Collection, that will be released on April 11. From the top, a jacket with Piñatex natural leather details, a top made of Orange Fiber and Tencel and a flipflop made of Bloom Foam
Photo credit: H&M
While cotton might be a great material to wear – it is unfortunately also responsible for soil erosion and water contamination from pesticides among other things. Producing just one single t-shirt also takes about 20 000 litres of water. At the same time, synthetic materials made from fossil fuels such as acrylic and polyester, produces carcinogens in the production stage and whenever we wash the items, plastic micro fibers enter our water supply, Forbes reports.
But fret not, lots of other materials are coming our way!
Several companies are now making textile materials out of agricultural waste that otherwise would just be left to rot. Winner of H&M Foundation Global Change Award in 2018, Circular Systems, makes a bio fiber out of crop waste such as hemp, flax, pineapples, bananas and sugar cane. They also make other materials of the waste, such as packaging and bio fuel.
The company Orange Fiber similarly rescues all the orange peels discarded after making orange juice in Italy every year, and turns it into a silky fabric similar to viscose. In 2017, Italian luxury goods company Salvatore Ferragamo even made a collection of clothes in this material.
Speaking of pineapples, it can also turn into vegan leather. Piñatex, as it is called, is made from pineapple leaf fibres and other parts of the fruit that can’t be eaten. Meanwhile, Chip(s) Board make bioplastic made of potato waste and Vegea make leather from grape waste.
As Forbes put it: a new revolution in material innovation is on its way.
Mold and grow a lampshade out of mycelium? Sure, why not!
We have all heard of bags and dresses made of mycelium, the root part of the mushroom. In those cases, the mycelium itself is the base of the material. But mycelium can also be used as a kind of natural glue to bond together other biomaterials such as wood or hemp. This is what the New York-based biofabrication company Ecovative Design does. With mycelium as the base, they grow new biodegradable and compostable materials out of crop waste to offer an alternative to plastics.
The result? Lamp shades, bowls, textiles, planters and packaging, for both design and industry purposes (Among their partners are Bolt Threads and Ikea, for instance).
Ecovative’s idea is to reinvent the way we manufacture goods, the way we think of materials and design, and also to invite consumers to take part in the design process. Because yes, they actually sell grow it at home-design kits.
Photo cred: Ecovative.
Photo cred: Screenshot from Moeburns promo video.
Material innovation company Bolt Threads have done it again! After the collaborations with Stella McCartney, on the spider silk gold dress and the Falabella mushroom bag, they are now releasing their own first ever commercial product: the The Bolt Projects Mylo Driver Bag. The bag is handcrafted with canvas and leather grown from mycelium – the part of the mushrooms that grow underneath the ground. Apart from the bag being very stylish and is reported to be as strong as regular leather, it’s good news for the environment too. Creating it didn’t involve raising any livestock, creating any land erosion or methane emissions.
To create the bag Bolt Threads collaborated with Portland-based brand Chester Wallace, known for its handcrafting. At this point, the bags can be preordered on their Kickstarter page to be delivered to backers in the spring of 2019.
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Buy, wear and throw away without climate guilt. A dress designed to die. That’s how Swedish Fashion Tech company Streamateria describes their new compostable dress, planned to be released in the fall. They have found a wood based material to work with and are now looking for collaborators interested in developing it. Not much else to report on this right now, but here’s a first look at the dress:
Screenshot from Streamateria, LinkedIn.
We have known for a while that british designer Stella McCartney has partnered up with biotech startup Bolt Threads. In 2017 they launched their first collaboration together, a spider silk dress that was showcased at MoMa in NYC.
Now they’re launching their second product together: McCartneys iconic Falabella bag, in the mushroom leather material Mylo, The Current Daily reports. The material is made out of mushroom mycelium cells, that has been grown in beds of corn stalks and other nutrition and self-assembled into a leather-like material.
– Once you take that technology and innovation and you marry it with luxury fashion and design and creativity, there’s no end to what magical madness you can create, Stella McCartney has told Forbes.
There are no plans as of yet to put this bag up for sale. But if you want to see it in real life, head out to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where it will be displayed in the exhibition ”Fashioned by nature” from April 21.
Bolt Threads will also release their own version of the Mylo bag, available for preorder i June. With this project, Bolt Threads are moving in to new biotech territory. The company has so far been known for its manmade spider silk material Microsilk.
The Stella McCartney + Bolt Threads Falabella Bag in Mylo leather.