GRAB A BREW: In what is a novel twist on fermentation, the technical skiwear label Goldwin and a biomaterial innovator Spiber are rolling out what they claim is the world’s first knitted garment made with Brewed Protein.
Flagged as “The Sweater,” the design is part of the two companies’ joint effort to replace petrochemical-based materials that are commonly used in the fashion industry with bio-based solutions. The design requires a technology that makes a completely petrochemical- and animal product-free fabric. Its production involves the use of Brewed Protein, a biopolymer whose plant-based microbial fermentation process aims to lessen the use of animal products and plastics in an assortment of industries. Essentially, it is grown in a factory, but is not necessarily synthetic.
The ski sweater-inspired item is made with 30 percent Brewed Protein and 70 percent wool. Brewed Protein refers to artificial protein materials produced from plant-derived biomass using a proprietary fermentation process. Brewed Protein materials can be processed into a variety of forms that are used in the apparel industry such as delicate filament fibers with a silky sheen. Now available to pre-order, the $800 Japanese-made pullover will be produced in limited runs.
Until 12 a.m. on Nov. 29, consumers in 11 countries — Japan, the U.S., Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the U.K., Sweden, and the Netherlands —can enter an online lottery system that will determine who receives the opportunity to purchase the brewed item. Winners will be selected randomly on Nov. 30 and they will be notified via e-mail of their eligibility to purchase The Sweater. Starting on Christmas Day, The Sweater will be shipped to those in the 11 countries who purchased it.
This marks the first time that Goldwin and Spiber’s first Brewed Protein garment is being offered in the U.S. Last year The North Face Japan, which is operated by Goldwin Inc., teamed up to release the Moon Parka, a jacket featuring microbally produced fabric. Designed primarily as a conceptual garment, that parka was available only in highly limited quantities in Japan. Having partnered since 2015, Goldwin and Spiber are venturing into a new phase, which the companies call “Vision Quest,” with the debut of The Sweater. The way they see it, this is a project that unites partners around the world in the quest for a better future.