Among the reasons that led me to open this blog (why the blog), there is hope, which actually is more a belief, that fashion and ethics can create more and more synergies so that in the not too distant future we can talk about eco-à-porter. The direction of the industry seems like this, even according to an authoritative source such as the New York Times that in an article released a few days ago talks about the growing interest of the world of high-end fashion and sportswear brands in the use of recycled and alternative fabrics derived, for example, from mushrooms, oranges and spider web or better inspired by it. In the latter case, Stella McCartney, the vegan designer who has always been engaged in a cruelty-free and sustainable fashion, has used a kind of silk inspired precisely to the spider web and produced in the lab for two outfits she presented backstage at her latest collection last October in Paris. Not yet fully tested, the fiber was developed by Bolt Threads, a California based company that produces alternative materials from proteins present in nature, with which McCartney has signed a long-term partnership for the use and further development of the fiber that is called Microsilk.
After studying spiders’ DNA and their webs, Bolt Threads’ engineers recreated similar proteins that were injected into yeast and sugar and then subjected to a patented fermentation process. The resulting liquid silk was then turned into a fiber through a wet-spinning process that creates strands that then can be knitted into fabric. And why exactly the spider’s web? Because these Arachnids produce silk fibers with extraordinary properties including high tensile strength, elasticity, durability and softness. Certainly this is a material still in development, initial production of such fabrics continues to be limited and the finished products, costly. Recently, Bolt Threads presented a lottery to sell its first silk neckties made of Microsilk at $314 each. But like any new technology, the first step follow improvements and results allowing to lower costs and make products more accessible. It is then for stylists and forward-looking CEOs to understand its revolutionary significance “recognizing that these cool materials of tomorrow could be something people want to buy today”.