Goldwin + Spiber Inc. Project: Deciphering The Ski Jacket Prototype

A sustainable synthetic spider silk garment full of promises for the future

in brief

Goldwin, the Japanese ski apparel and lifestyle label, is future-proofing a sustainable jacket prototype through a joint Research & Development project with Spiber Inc., offering clues on a coming standardization of the use of synthetic spider silk in the near future.

Nowadays, most of sports apparel is manufactured with synthetic polymer materials such as polyester and nylon, produced using petroleum. Producing these materials consumes massive amounts of energy and greenhouse gases. With the threat of climate change and the world’s fossil fuels running dry, the emergency of shifting from non-renewable to sustainable resources rests with today’s society. Goldwin, the 60 years old Japanese ski apparel and lifestyle label, is tackling this problem through a joint research and development project with Spiber Inc.

Teaming up with the super-materials company, Goldwin produce a sustainable ski jacket prototype leveraging a method of producing “Q/QMONOS™” synthetic spider silk on a commercial scale. Unlike existing fibers made from petrochemicals, the biomaterial is made from a synthetic protein based on fibroin, and is produced via proprietary microbial fermentation and spinning processes. Balancing high functionality with environmental friendliness, it is expected to be produced on a commercial scale in the near future. Accomplishing such feat would equate to becoming one of the most singular role model of the industry to date, while many bioengineering start-up creating alternative materials are still currently struggling to find ways to scale (which remains the most puzzling part for disruptive companies and laboratories, as shown in our latest report). “Q/QMONOS™ ” has the potential to bring about a true paradigm shift in the materials industry. At present, the innovative material is undergoing an array of rigorous quality verification procedures before being brought to market.

Credit : Goldwin + Spiber Inc.

While this ski jacket is still under development, the sustainable prototype is being nominated for the prestigious Beazley’s Designs of the Year Award in fashion. From September 12, 2018, the Goldwin SKI JACKET will be presented at the Design Museum, in London, until January 9, 2019. This internationally known award celebrates its eleventh-year, and will present 87 projects from around the world to exhibit the achievements in diversity, creativity, innovation and impact of the year. Furthermore, they are narrowed down to the categories of Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Product, Graphic and Transport. Winners will be announced in November 2018, chosen by special juries, awarding the overall winner and winner of each category. Also there will be an award for the project chosen by the general public as well.

Credit : Goldwin

But the most important take from such announcement so far is that the experimentation with synthetic spider silk has taken another leap, bringing it closer and closer to its standardization on the global market, which is a boon, considering how sportswear took off these last years in the Fashion space. With every signals going green, we expect these collaboration to become the new normal in the coming months. In the meantime, the fight to dominate this space is still ongoing, and we’re excited to see which of Spiber (which already collaborates with a flurry of brands such as The North Face, as reported here) and Bolt Threads (which has gotten closer to designers this year, especially Stella McCartney, and intends on going further) will play its cards right. One thing is for sure, the challenge of fusing nature and technology is growingly becoming a thing of the (not so immediate) past, and the US and Japan are way ahead… Again!

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