We are incredibly glad to introduce you to a very cool company – Bolt Threads. Among their achievements so far was a successful commercialisation of spider silk and Mylo mushroom leather. Spider silk is exceptionally strong, lightweight, stretchable, soft and biodegradable (a primary criteria for all Spidermen choosing fibres helping them save the world). Although the team from Bolt Threads might not all be real life Spidermen and Spiderwomen they are surely contributing to a much better world. They do so by moving away from petroleum-based synthetic fabrics and toxic processes and by offering innovative alternative advanced textiles using fewer natural resources and creating less waste. Their latest invention – Mylo mushroom leather is both petroleum-free and animal-free. Bolt Threads state that animal leather is so 1st century and we could not agree more! Consequently, please share our joy of meeting David Breslauer, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Bolt Threads on documenting their journey on engineering the next generation of nature loving and high-performance materials.
What is Bolt Threads?
Bolt Threads is a materials innovation company. We look to the high-performance and versatile materials in nature, and using advanced biotechnology and biomaterials science, recreate them for sustainable consumer products. Beginning with the textiles found and used in our everyday lives— silk and leather— Bolt Threads is the first company in decades to release two novel biomaterials, and will continue to use our platform to invent new and useful materials that are better for the planet.
How do you make Bolt Threads [spider silk]?
We produce our Microsilk® proteins, primarily using the ingredients of sugar, yeast, and water. We study the silk proteins found in nature to determine what gives them their incredible properties. Then, we develop proteins inspired by these natural silks and put their genes into yeast. Using proprietary technology and a fermentation process, we generate and purify the silk protein. We then turn that protein into a fibers using standard fiber extrusion processes. These yarns can then be knit or woven like any other fibers.
Why Bolt Threads?
We are passionate about creating innovative materials that are better for our planet. Our materials technologies present an opportunity to revolutionize an industry that hasn’t had the opportunity to work with new materials in decades. Our platform enables the creation commercially viable materials inspired by nature.
The latest with Microsilk & Mylo?
Right now, we’re focused on our Microsilk and Mylo production processes and creating meaningful products to bring to both the luxury and consumer-accessible markets through our brands and partners; but as a materials innovation company, we’re always looking for inspiration in nature to create additional sustainable materials. We were the first to bring bioengineered spider silk to market with the launch of the Microsilk necktie last year, and introduced our second commercial product last December – the Best Made Microsilk Cap of Courage. We’re also bringing mycelium leather directly to consumers by releasing The Bolt Projects Mylo™ Driver Bag designed in collaboration with Portland-based brand Chester Wallace, available for pre-sale on Kickstarter now!
Why are you doing Bolt Threads?
I find the natural and physical world both fascinating and inspiring. Nature has figured out how to create technology, over billions years, and these technologies reintegrate back into the Earth. It’s imperative that we learn from nature to ensure the continued survival of the planet. Our platform enables us to crack nature’s code so we can copy what these creatures do, and turn them into products. The Bolt platform connects the science to the customer.
Other projects in sustainable textiles/fashion space that you are excited about?
There are a lot of great projects out there. For us, Mylo has been an exciting new adventure. I’m particularly hopeful for rentable wardrobe startups— reducing consumption and reusing products are the highest impact sustainable actions you can take.
What do you think of Bolt Threads? Share your thoughts by tweeting us @Amberoot, or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
This article is part of series “Future of Fashion Series”: