American startup company Modern Meadow made headlines last year when a shirt made with their lab-grown leather was included in an exhibition entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The museum subsequently added the shirt to their collection. Thankfully, this new innovative technology is now no longer reserved for museums, as Modern Meadow has teamed up with European chemicals company Evonik to bring their cruelty-free leather to the masses!
Conventional leather is not only cruel, being the product of slaughtered animals, but the tanning process is also very harmful to the environment. Modern Meadow’s fabricated leather only takes two weeks to create, far less time than it takes to create traditional leather, and it can be made into various textures, colors, and sizes according to designers’ requests.
The process of creating the lab-grown leather is rather complicated, but Modern Meadow CEO and founder Andras Forgacs explains it as such: “We have engineered a strain of yeast — like a cousin of what you’d use to brew beer — which can produce collagen through fermentation. Collagen, which is found in animal skins, is the main biological building block of leather. We assemble it into a range of materials that become our Zoa bioleather.'”
By partnering with Evonik, Modern Meadow will be able to increase production rates and make Zoa bioleathers available to designers. Although the names of interested designers have not yet been revealed, Forgacs said they have received inquiries from designers all across the playing field, from fashion to sports and automotive industries.
The cruelty-free leather industry has been making some impressive innovations lately, creating leather-like materials from unexpected sources like recycled banana fiber, mushrooms, and byproducts of wine production. With big brands like Tesla choosing to nix traditional leather from their production, and high-end designers making major moves to be cruelty-free, the future of Modern Meadow looks bright.
To learn more about Modern Meadow, visit their website here.
Image Source: Modern Meadow