"Spider's silk is as strong as steel, lighter than carbon fibre and tougher than Kevlar. Several research groups are hoping harness these remarkable properties by creating synthetic versions of the material.
Now, North Face has partnered with one of these teams to create a jacket made from a fiber named 'Qmonos' – the Japanese word for spider."
The prototype jacket, dubbed the 'Moon Parka', is the work of Japanese advanced biomaterials company Spiber. North Face describes it as 'the world's first piece of clothing made from artificial protein material.'
Spiber's manmade version uses synthesised genes which coax bacteria to produce fibroin, a structural protein found in spider silk. Spiber then uses the technology to culture the microbes efficiently and weave the fibroin into fabric. Spiber is remaining tight lipped about the exact process. But the company did say that the proteins are created through a microbial fermentation process.
'Our team has extensively studied the diverse genetic designs found in nature,' Spiber's Vimeo video says. 'We've developed advanced methods to create new, tailor-made protein materials designed at the molecular level.'
The team chose to make the coat in gold hue - the natural web colour of the golden orb spider. Goldwin, which markets The North Face in Japan, said the production process of the material is more environmentally-friendly that traditional petroleum-based polymer fibers.
There are already a number of garments made from real spider's silk, but these are rare, because spider's generally kill each other when confined. Spiders also only produce minute amounts of silk, spinning only what they need for a web, then consuming any excess it has 'spun'.
Via Miguel Prazeres, Warwick Raverty, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald