Stella McCartney has announced on Instagram that she plans to eliminate animal products from her line thanks to a new partnership with Silicon Valley biotech company, Bolt Threads, which creates yeast-based vegan silk. The designer will debut a dress made entirely from this vegan silk at the design exhibition “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”, being held at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York this October.

Wondering what the dress will look like?

The custom knitted one-of-a-kind, gold dress is a modern interpretation of the classic shift dress and is made entirely of protein-based yarn inspired by spider silk.  Bolt Threads have developed technology to replicate the amazing process spiders go through to produce tensile, durable, soft silk. Using proteins found in nature they have replicated this process sustainably at large scale.

They first study silk proteins found in nature to determine what gives them their incredible properties. They then develop proteins inspired by these natural silks by putting genes into yeast, these proteins are produced in large quantities through fermentation, using yeast, sugar and water. The silk protein is then spun into fibers which are knitted or weaved into fabrics to make garments.

The Silicon Valley startup has raised a total of $90 million to invest in further research, development and manufacturing and has bold ambitions to develop a range of products available to the public.

The Bolt Microsilk™ yarn that will be used to make the shift dress.

McCartney’s brand is not currently vegan as she still uses wool but finding a vegan alternative to silk is an incredible step forward, as she recently commented,

“When I first started in fashion design, I never thought there would be a day like this, where we would arrive with such an important moment when technology is fused with fashion, one of the most harmful industries to the environment,” the designer said. “For me, I’ve always struggled with the use of silk, and finding Bolt has been a life-changing and career-changing moment for me.” 

Last month, McCartney revealed a partnership with materials-recycling organisation Parlay for the Oceans. Through this partnership the designer has committed to using fibers made from recycled ocean garbage to create shoe and accessories collections.


Image credit: Wikimedia

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