‘Brewed Protein’ fibre?

Sweater created using 30% synthetic microbial fibres.
‘The Sweater’ by Goldwin Sports

I saw a press release the other day for a lottery to win this sweater on the left. Actually that’s not strictly true. The competition is to win the chance to buy a sweater for $800. Note this is to win ‘the chance to buy‘ the sweater. It is only open for residents of 11 countries, Japan, USA and 7 European countries including the UK and Spain.  Get in there with your spare $800. Goldwin are a ski-wear manufacturing company and they have teamed up with a Japanese company, Spiber, who have created a sustainable petroleum and animal free fibre. 

The sweater is unique as although it is a traditional styled ski sweater it is made from 70% wool and 30% ‘brewed protein’. Brewed protein is the interesting bit. It is created from microbial fermentation of plant based materials as its primary resource. This produces a fibre that is animal and plastic free that has the same or similar protein structure to spider silk. I’m not sure how spider silk varies from traditional silk from a silk moth, but it will be interesting to see how it can be used. Silk is extremely expensive and you need a lot of cocoons, around 2,500 to get one pound, just under 500g of silk. There is also that nasty bit of the production that involves, boiling the larva to get the fibres. 

Currently Spiber only have small scale production, hence the cost of the sweater, though a larger plant is under construction in Thailand.  North Face Japan, along with the company Spiber created the Moon Parka last year using the same technology. 

Much as my preferred fibres are either wool or plant based, there is a need for technical fabrics for a wide range of uses. In addition, wool is very expensive and many people simply can’t afford it and don’t use it. I went into a local wool shop in a small town here in West Yorkshire and was told that if I wanted 100% wool, they would have to order it in. Wool knitters are in a minority it seems and I really don’t like acrylic or similar yarns. So I for one, will keep an eye on developments on this product as I find these ideas interesting and I do like knitting with silk, and that it is even more expensive than wool. 

One comment

  1. This brewed protein sounds very interesting — I had never heard about it til now and will be on the lookout for it (once the price has come down!). Thank you for sharing.


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