Biotech venture Spiber Inc. and sports apparel-maker Goldwin Inc. has announced the launch of what they claim is the world’s first outerwear jacket made with protein material produced via microbial fermentation.
The Moon Parka jacket will go on sale in a limited volume under The North Face brand at one of its shops in Tokyo for $1,400, with the pale gold-colored nylon-like material being used for its surface layer.
According to Spiber, having initiated its research to create synthetic spider silk for its unusual mix of strength and elasticity over a decade ago, it is now capable of producing genetically modified proteins through microbial fermentation, a manufacturing process that does not rely on petroleum, a finite resource.
By teaming up with Goldwin, Spiber believes the new biodegradable material named Brewed Protein could provide a sustainable solution to the needs of the apparel industry to move away from petrochemical and animal-derived materials.
Mr Kazuhide Sekiyama, representative executive officer of Spiber said, “The release is only for a limited number of pieces. This may be one small step, but we will strive to make it one giant leap for creating a better society.”
He added, “The areas where we put our priority right now are apparel and automobiles but joint research is under way with dozens of enterprises in various ways.”