Cofounders Greg Altman and Rebecca Lacouture in Silk Inc.'s lab in Medford, Mass.

Silk Inc. was just infused with $30 million in series “B” funding, which will help the company expand its offering in the fashion apparel and textile market. This investment round included Kraft Group and was led by Jeff Vinik, former manager of Fidelity’s Magellan Fund.

The company said the funds will allow it to launch “safe chemistry into the trillion-dollar fashion and textile industry and scale up production to meet global demand.” The company noted that its move into the apparel market “demonstrates the company’s potential to disrupt the chemical industry as a whole with its safe, sustainable, and high-performance alternatives.”

Traditionally, the finishing stage during the apparel manufacturing process is laden with synthetic chemical additives that provide softer-hand, color-setting, water-wicking and odor-resisting properties among others. However, these all-natural silk additives made from non-GMO polymer thread of silkworm cocoons and manufactured in Silk’s Boston facility, are aimed at capturing a growing consumer trend toward biocompatible alternatives.

“For years, consumers have been obsessed with what they put into their bodies through the food they eat,” said Greg Altman, cofounder and chief executive officer of Silk, which applied this approach in the 2015 launch of Silk’s clinical-grade, skin-care line carried by Harrods.

Accelerating the global health agenda through “commercially and economically viable” Liquid Silk technology, the cosmetic and apparel industries are positioned to divest from harsh petrochemicals if they so choose to join this consumer-demanded momentum of non-toxic alternatives.

Three principles stand apart: “environmental stewardship, business performance and technical innovation,” said Vinik, Silk board member and principal owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning as well as co-owner of Cascade Investment of Strategic Property Partners leading the funding round.

What’s clear is that consumers will continue to integrate health concerns into their fashion preferences, and this $886 billion green chemistry market may be the silk road which connects them.

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