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Bolt Threads joins Modern Meadow in the search for the commercialization of laboratory leather

There's a new world of laboratory replacements coming in for everything from the meat department in your grocery store to a department store near you.

Lab replacements will soon join vegetable-based meat replacements on store shelves with start-ups like Bolt Threads, which announced today that it will join companies as Modern Meadow for the purpose of commercializing vegetable substitutes for animals. skins.

Earlier this year, Silicon Valley's Bolt wires raised $ 123 million in funding to expand their business beyond spider silk manufacturing, which has become a household name. of the society.

The announcement today of his new product, Mylo, is the first step on this path.

In collaboration with established partner Stella McCartney and using a patented technology from Ecovative Design, Bolt brings to the world the replacement of Mylo mushroom leather in one of McCartney's early Falabella bag models.

The first bag will be available at the Fashioned from Nature exhibition of the Victoria and Albert Museum, open to the public on April 21 in London.

In an interview with Fast Company last year, McCartney discussed his commitment to sustainability. "I do not think you should compromise anyway for sustainability," McCartney told the magazine. "The ultimate achievement for me is when someone enters one of my stores and buys a Falabella bag thinking it's real leather."

While Bolt Threads concedes its technology to Ecovative Design, Modern Meadow chooses to develop its own intellectual property for the manufacture of a replacement leather.

Taking a different path from its California-based rival, Brooklyn's Modern Meadow model goes for a mass market while Bolt Threads is more bespoke.

The East Coast Company has partnered with European chemical giant Evonik – and raised more than $ 40 million from billionaire lenders like Peter Thiel's Breakout Ventures and Horizons Ventures (funded by Li Ka Shing – one of the richest men in China). the Singaporean investment giant, Temasek.

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Both companies are examples of how livestock is being replaced by technology in the search for a more sustainable way to feed and clothe the growing world population. It is a population that demands quality goods without sacrificing sustainable industrial practices – all that is made possible by new hardware – and the science of data, as well as new manufacturing capabilities that promise to transport things. from the laboratory to the heart of animal industries. seek to replace.

This is a trend that does not only happen in fashion, but that also breeds in food science.

The speed with which change will occur – and the viability of these alternatives – will depend on their scaling up to meet broad consumer demand. A purse in a museum is not enough. Once there are hundreds of handbags on Target shelves, the revolution will not need to be televised because it will have already been marketed.

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