Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

The North Face's Moon Parka Is World's First Product Made From Synthetic Spider Silk

Science
The North Face's Moon Parka Is World's First Product Made From Synthetic Spider Silk

Spider silk is known as some of the toughest material on Earth, but would you ever wear it as clothing? The North Face has teamed up with Japanese biomaterials company Spiber to create the Moon Parka, reportedly the "world’s first successful use of synthetic spider silk materials on an actual manufacturing line."

The special spider fiber is called QMONOS from the Japanese word "kumonosu" meaning "spider web."

According to Gizmag, this synthetic spider silk is made by "decoding the gene responsible for the production of fibroin in spiders and then bioengineering bacteria with recombinant DNA to produce the protein, which they then spin into their artificial silk."

While regular spider silk would never be able to make enough fiber for a coat, Spiber researchers have engineered a cell that is capable of producing enough of this material for commercial production.

The final product has taken 10 design iterations, 656 gene synthesis variations and 11 years of work.

Besides outwear, there could be many other future applications of this incredibly sturdy material, such as surgical materials, artificial blood vessels and ligaments, auto parts and bulletproof vests as Gizmag notes.

The coat's golden color takes after the natural color of QMONOS thread from the Golden Orb spider. The embroidered logos on the coat are also made from black QMONOS thread.

The Moon Parka is designed to endure harsh outdoor conditions. Photo credit: Spiber

However you feel about wearing genetically modified clothing, marketing company Goldwin Inc. boats in a press release for the Moon Parka that there are potential environmental benefits to using biomaterials over traditional textiles.

For instance, cotton is the most toxic crop in the world, using more than 25 percent of all the insecticides in the world and 12 percent of all the pesticides.

Additionally, whereas QMONOS thread is biodegradable, many popular outwear brands use petroleum based fabrics such as polyester or nylon. The fluorocarbon chemicals, or polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which makes their garments water- and soil-resistant, happens to be terrible for our health and the environment.

A prototype of the North Face coat is currently touring around Japan and could hit our markets by next year. The price has yet to be announced. Learn more about the product in the video below:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Indoor Veggie Garden Lets You Grow Your Own Food Right in Your Kitchen

REI to Boycott Black Friday, Encourage Americans to #OptOutside

Revolutionary ‘Magic Tent’ Combines Tent, Sleeping Bag and Pad in One

Solar-Powered Beach Mat Charges Your Phone and Chills Your Beverages

 

An empty school bus by a field of chemical plants in "Cancer Alley," one of the most polluted areas of the U.S. that stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, where oil refineries and petrochemical plants reside alongside suburban homes. Giles Clarke / Getty Images

By David Konisky

On his first day in office President Joe Biden started signing executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies. One sweeping directive calls for stronger action to protect public health and the environment and hold polluters accountable, including those who "disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities."

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Katherine Kornei

Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland on Oct. 13, 2020. Climate change is having a profound effect with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating. Ulrik Pedersen / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.

Read More Show Less
Caribbean islands such as Trinidad have plenty of water for swimming, but locals face water shortages for basic needs. Marc Guitard / Getty Images

By Jewel Fraser

Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.

Read More Show Less
A fallen tree in Yosemite National Park following a Jan. 18 windstorm. Yosemite National Park

California's iconic Yosemite National Park will remain closed until at least Saturday, Jan. 30 after a windstorm caused millions of dollars of damage in the park and toppled two giant sequoias.

Read More Show Less