The luxury fashion world is digesting the news from Vogue Business that material innovation start-up Bolt Threads is struggling to raise funding for its leather alternative Mylo. They make mycelium-based fungi material and attracted much interest from the fashion industry; they had Stella McCartney, Adidas and Kering as sponsors.
But luxury brands containing the material have been slow to reach the market. Bolt have said “Despite our intensive efforts, the current macroeconomic climate has made it increasingly difficult to secure the necessary capital to support the scale up of emerging technologies’.
So far, so usual. Many ventures are experiencing slow capital take up right now. But what interests us is debate about sustainability this news has stirred.
Sustainability features are an important part of our design story for luxury coffee table book projects.
Our paper and material suppliers are at the forefront of new technologies and share our interest in sustainability. From paper made from seaweed, plantable seed papers, through to book binding fabric made from 100% recycled waste ocean plastic, we are always on the look out for sustainable materials and papers which are not only kind to the environment but also do not compromise on the quality of the bespoke books that we make for luxury brands around the glob .
For an end to end, truly sustainable journey we can also print coffee table books in a zero-emissions printing factory where all waste is contained at source.
But going back to the main topic at hand, commentators are frustrated/angry/for/against; here’s a taster:
- How innovative “sustainable” solutions are often oversold by the media. In truth replacing incumbents is exceptionally challenging.
- Most leather replacements are backed by or combined with plastics thus severely denting their environmental claim.
- If you create sustainable leather alternatives and drive down the demand for leather, the price of leather will drop until it all gets used.
- Leather is repairable and durable. Alternatives are not repairable or durable - or even healthy for your feet.
- A pair of shoes can contain up to 45 components: the shank, the toe puff, stiffeners the reinforced binding, lining, hardware, insoles, padding, sock, sole, glues, all of which need to be considered - not just the upper material.
Designer Anya Hindmarch: "Leather, farmed in a regenerative way which is then tanned and finished in a responsible way, is often the most sensible solution when a by-product of the meat industry".
- Bill Amberg: "I don't believe there is such a thing as plant-based leather. There are non-woven textiles which are very good, and in fact, we use them here at our studio. But in terms of replacing animal leather, they are not strong enough, repairable, or durable enough. They also don't have enough character, and they're too expensive. The two materials are entirely different."
- Leather Naturally "The leather industry is witnessing a growing dialogue of misinformation about leather-making and the truth about leather alternatives. Do consumers know how leather is made and its sustainability credentials?”
- The leather industry divided between the modernised tanning facilities (80-90% and the small tanneries operating without safe chemical, waste, and worker conditions. These small operators in countries like Morocco, Bangladesh, and India are the ones whose images are often used as as hubs of toxic leather production.
- Leather should be reimagined creatively and combined with other materials rather than discarded in favour of plastic or lesser performing 'alternative leathers'. A more creative approach is needed eg using half the thickness of leather and bonding it to other materials or fabrics to create composites.
So, some of the arguments are complex on this one. As always with sustainability, one needs all the facts and knowledge to truly know what’s right. This story highlights that a one-size-fits-all approach is not always right for creating the best eco-solution.
The poor mushroom
It’s having a tough time, which is a shame as we very much like the shroom.
This will make you still believe in mushrooms.
A terrific recipe from Stanley Tucci’s Italian series.
Keeping the pot cooking
That’s what we do at Anew. Keep the luxury broth going.
We are a London based luxury marketing consultancy for ambitious businesses of excellence. Whether it’s insight from research, strategic brand thinking, a new brand name and logo design, messaging – or a luxury coffee table book - we help luxury brands increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution.
Read here all about SO Books, our joint venture with SO Creative Studios. This venture allows us to offer clients seamless end-to-end custom book and bespoke book box making service: from initial strategy, research and copywriting and content creation right through to luxury coffee table book design, printing and fulfilment.
We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.
You can read more about us here.
To get in touch do drop us an email. We'd be delighted to meet for a coffee, either face-to-face or virtually to discuss your brief.