Patagonia and North Face Switch to Vegan Spider Silk

Fashion designer Joshua Katcher reveals a revolution brewing in the fashion industry as major companies partner with cruelty-free fabric makers.


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In a recent blog post, men’s fashion designer Joshua Katcher outlined how outerwear brands Patagonia and The North Face have formed partnerships with biofabrication companies Spiber and Bolt, respectively. North Face developed its “Moon Parka with Spiber’s revolutionary cruelty-free spider silk, which relies on the fermentation of yeast cells combined with sugar and salt to produce fabric proteins. “We are approaching a time where silk-lined wool suits with horn buttons, leather oxfords, and beaver felt hats will all be brewed from yeast like a rustic ale,” Katcher said. The fashion designer revealed that in addition to ethical concerns, the 7.7 million tons of animal products produced annually for the fashion industry require unimaginable amounts of resources, creating a carbon footprint not known to many consumers of finished fashion pieces. Katcher concluded with a prediction for the future of the fashion industry. “Brewed spider silk is the first to market, but it’s only a matter of time before cultured leathers, hairs, feathers, and materials that we can not yet even conceive of will replace their less efficient predecessors.” The movement away from using animals in fashion is evident in the development of leather alternatives from organic compounds found in pineapples, mushrooms, and kombucha.