While there’s no shortage in choices out there for humane faux leather materials in fashion, there’s some interesting research going on that points to real leather as the next viable sustainable leather alternative. Sound crazy? Read on!
A couple of years ago, I remember watching this TED talk by Andras Forgacs, a researcher working to produce animal products (both meat AND leather) without the actual animal. Forgacs is now the CEO of a really cool company called Modern Meadow that uses bio-fabrication to grow leather in a lab, without harming any animals in the process!
Forgacs pointed out some of the benefits of using cultured leather, saying there was no hair to remove, no scars or wounds to work around, and (best of all) no waste! Since the leather is lab-grown, it can be created in a specific shape, so any product or garment could be made seamless and there’s nothing left over!
What’s really cool about it is that it’s made of the same cells as conventional leather from an animal, so it has all the same characteristics. Imagine the same look and feel of lambskin or ostrich, but without the cruelty!
Forgacs also points out that the leather can be customized to fit specific needs. So if it were being used in fashion, designers could make the leather as soft or as durable as they wanted, or even with unique patterns.
This is exceptional, especially when sustainable fashion is so up-and-coming. Even though we have faux-leather options, a lot of those alternatives uses chemical-laden plastics that aren’t so good for the environment. While there are recycled plastic variations, it still doesn’t yield the best quality or most durable material that accessories like shoes and handbags require.
While the concept of lab-grown leather isn’t necessarily new, Modern Meadow may be up to something great now. A company rep said they might have teamed up with some animal-loving designers who refuse to use animal products in their goods.
Can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for the future of sustainable leather and fashion!
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