Do you wish you could rock a leather coat but feel like it’s just a bit too…murdery?
Your sci-fi fashion dreams may be about to come true. One U.S.-based company, Modern Meadow, is spearheading a movement to change the fabric of the fashion industry in the most literal sense. Its mission: to produce quality, lab-grown animal leathers without harming any living creatures.
The brand’s “designers, scientists and engineers” have genetically manipulated a strain of yeast to produce a protein identical to bovine collagen (cow flesh), which has a neat way of growing itself into fibres and then into sheets of raw, creepy-but-kind leather. The collagen is then converted into hide through the traditional processes of dyeing, tanning, etc.
So on the one hand, you don’t get the satisfaction of knowing that your pants were once some cow’s thigh skin, but also, you don’t have the horror of knowing that your pants were once some cow’s thigh skin.
Other than that obvious animal-friendly benefit, lab leather has a couple other advantages, including the fact that it can be grown in any shape and size (not like all the inconveniently odd-shaped animals that have been lending their skins for our sofas over decades), doesn’t have blemishes or scars, and is far more consistent in quality.
Modern Meadows has raised upwards of $50-million USD from investors and is on the way to its first wave of collaborations with a few brands in the fashion/furniture/automotive realm, but it’ll likely be a couple years before we see any lab-leather products on the market.
The good news for those of us who can’t wait that long? The first garment (a graphic tee made with the leather) will be revealed on October 1 at MoMA’s Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibit in NYC, along with the mystery material’s new proprietary name.
Mark your calendars.