A Glimpse Of The Future

The North Face Made a Jacket out of Synthetic Spider Silk


November 17, 2015 Briefings By
gear-patrol_moonparka

The North Face and a Japanese company named Spiber have joined forces to create the Moon Parka, a prototype parka made from synthetic spider silk. Its design is based on the North Face’s Antarctica parka but is made from Spiber’s proprietary material QMONOS, a fiber made from bioengineered bacteria that mimics the properties of spider silk. The material upgrades a jacket already meant for the most extreme arctic conditions with what is considered the toughest material in the world.

Mass-produced synthetic spider silk has the potential to revolutionize consumer products. Spiderwebs have a strength that rivals steel, but are as lightweight and stretchy as any fabric. Any garment made with spider silk promises to have a massive performance advantage over its counterparts. Synthetic spider silk also has the potential to be more environmentally friendly: most jackets are made with petroleum-based products, while QMONOS is biodegradable.

The reason that spider silk hasn’t seen use is that it’s incredibly difficult to manufacture, synthetic or not. Spider-silk farms are impractical (not to mention terrifying), and while the technology behind producing a synthetic version is improving fast, it’s still in its infancy. To bring the Moon Parka to market and meet its ambitious 2016 launch date, Spiber will have to figure out a way to mass produce its synthetic silk. The uncertainty means that a price for the parka is currently undetermined. If the North Face and Spiber pull it off, it will redefine the cutting edge of apparel technology.

Patrick Lapera

More by Patrick Lapera | Follow on Contact via Email
Sign Up for the
Daily Dispatch
The day's best product roundups, reviews and gear news packed into one handy, daily email.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and to receive email correspondence from us.