Upcoming, *truly* plant-based materials
I hope you are enjoying your weekend.
Let's start with the important stuff: welcoming Rebekah, Hiba, Scoot, Shelby, ABC, D., Elisa, Dale, Samina, Sara, Marjolijn, TC & MC to the fold. I'm so happy that you've joined us and I hope you'll enjoy the content here.
Last week's newsletter on "Vegan vs. Real Leather" seemed to have touched a chord - thank you to everyone who got in touch to share their views.
In that newsletter we compared animal leather with the current vegan "leather" options on the market, and hopefully you came away with the impression that neither was the optimal solution. Today I therefore wanted to inject a bit of hope by looking at 2 brand new materials that are completely plastic (ie. PU) free.
A quick refresher: PU (full name polyurethane) is currently the go-to material from which most vegan leathers are made (even the plant-based ones). PU is a fossil fuel derived plastic so it's far from an ideal material to be using.
I've written an article on this topic, which I hope helps to explain why PU is still being used, as well as looking at the new plastic-free materials currently under development.
Which brings us to Mirum™ and Treekind™.
MIRUM - all plants, no plastic.
We'll look at MIRUM first, as it has recently become available for designers to purchase.
MIRUM is a high-performance plant-based material. It uses 100% natural inputs (natural rubber, vegetable oil, cork, coconut husk, rice hull and minerals) and zero plastic.
Manufactured by an American company called Natural Fiber Welding, Mirum is a big deal: scan through the their press page and you'll see they're working with Porsche, BMW, Richemeont, Allbirds & Ralph Lauren. Unfortunately they seem to have forgotten to mention a small - but punchy! - brand called LUXTRA. I imagine they're just finalising the wording of the press release. 😉
We start work on our MIRUM prototypes this month. Eeeeeee !!!
Treekind is the second material that I'm really excited about. I've met the founder, Mira, a few times and her passion and drive are awe-inspiring.
Treekind transforms green waste into a leather alternative. What makes Treekind different to Mirum is that it uses green waste - i.e. garden clippings from parks and the like. So it really is upcycling waste materials, which I think is absolutely fantastic.
Funny story: Mira and I first connected when she emailed me on the sly asking about the plastic in the materials LUXTRA uses. Apparently my long, detailed and earnest reply impressed her, so we met for coffee the following week!
Treekind is still under development, but they're looking to scale up quickly and the company is already in talks with some big name Swedish fashion and furniture brands. I'm excited to visit their new production lab in East London in a few weeks time.
Here's a quick video where Mira introduces Treekind, if you're curious.
Just a friendly reminder: our choices today really do have an impact. Go green! 💚
With that, I'll sign off and wish you a happy Sunday.
As always, I love to hear from you, so do get in touch.
I don't bite ;)
Founder | Plant Parent | Proud B Corper