The North Face and biotech start-up Spiber have unveiled the world’s first outdoor apparel prototype to feature synthetic spider silk. The prototype has been created with Spiber’s synthetic spider silk material Qmonos using existing industrial manufacturing equipment.
It is a parka and serves as a physical incarnate of Spiber’s bioengineered proteins mimicking spider silk and the first step toward commercial production of the sustainable fiber. The full offering includes men’s and women’s jackets and vests, tops and bottoms, equipment, footwear and accessories for a range of products suited for traveling and times of inclement weather in urban environments.
Spiber has already applied its synthetic spider silk on a seat for a concept car with Lexus that absorbs energy on impact. The long-term goal is widespread adoption of synthetic protein materials for industrial use. Spider silk is a renewable resource that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels and requires fewer chemical dyes when made into a garment. It is the toughest material that is known. The fibers Spiber has created can withstand existing industrial machinery.
A protein material was made through a completely biological process like any other protein material; a synthetic process was used to form that material. Reducing society’s reliance on petroleum-based materials is part of Spiber and The North Face’s vision for a sustainable future.