Just seven months ago, BESTSELLER - via its investment arm Invest FWD - announced an investment in and collaboration with innovator VitroLabs that can grow leather in just a few weeks via cultured laboratory cells from animals.

Now the Danish fashion house announces another collaboration: this time with British innovator Biophilica, which is developing an alternative to leather shoes with its material Treekind. BESTSELLER’s menswear brand JACK & JONES will test the innovative material.

Although many plant-based leather alternatives have already entered the market, there are very few that are completely free of plastic, specifically polyurethane (PU). This means that the materials are not recyclable with existing or currently known technologies.

Leather alternative Treekind, created by London based startup Biophilica, contains no plastic but is formulated with lignocellulose from leaves and a natural binder, which is designed to break down in soil or water. The ambition is to create a recyclable material that is also suitable for composting when the product reaches its end-of-life.

Cooperation is the way forward

BESTSELLER currently investigates many different innovative approaches to the development of leather alternatives. What they all have in common is that helping promising innovators – such as Biophilica – to commercial scale almost always requires collaboration. That is also why BESTSELLER is involved as a partner in the just-announced Fashion for Good project, which will test and validate Biophilica's material.

“We are thrilled to be working with BESTSELLER and benefiting from their valuable expertise,” says Mira Nameth, CEO and founder of Biophilica, and concludes:

  • Leather constitutes just approximately 1% of BESTSELLER's total material consumption. On the other hand, leather processing has a high climate impact and can create a debate in itself as a by-product of the meat industry.
  • Earlier this year, BESTSELLER's Invest FWD invested in the American company VitroLabs, which can grow laboratory leather by simply using a single animal cell. This cell acts as a seed that self-generates in bioreactors.
  • Additionally, Invest FWD has in recent years invested in a number of innovations, such as textile recycling and waste-to-fibre technologies. Those include Ambercycle, Circular Systems, Infinited Fiber and Evrnu.
  • BESTSELLER has been a strategic partner in Fashion for Good since 2018 and has consequently been part of a significant number of pilots with promising innovators.
  • The Fashion for Good projects range from blockchain technology, infrastructure for textile recycling, transformation of agricultural waste into textile fibres, technology development of chemical polyester recycling, validation of black pigments made from waste and much more. Find an overview here.
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