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This ‘Moon Shot’ Parka Made From Synthetic Protein Textile Answers New Call for Sustainability

Four years of fabric research and development has resulted in the first commercially available outerwear jacket to utilize structural proteins that answer the call for renewable and sustainable materials.

The Moon Parka, set for a limited release on Dec. 12, was developed by sports apparel manufacturer Goldwin Inc. and biotech firm Spiber Inc. as part of The North Face Sp. project. It features an outer layer made from 100 percent Brewed Protein materials manufactured through a microbial fermentation process that doesn’t rely on petrochemical resources, according to Japan’s Structural Protein Industry Association.

The Moon Parka takes its name from the word moonshot–an attempt to achieve an extremely difficult task for the sake of the enormous impact that its success would entail.

The four years of research and development since the initial Moon Parka prototype was unveiled has led to an extensive evolution in the product, the companies noted. The latest iteration of the jacket features a basic design suited to be used from “street to summit,” with fabric that meets Goldwin’s strict durability and stability quality standards.

A breathable, waterproof laminate forms the middle layer of the shell, and the inner padding, taking inspiration from the expedition-use, cold-resistant Himalayan Parka in The North Face’s Summit Series, uses 900-fill Cleandown to ensure heat retention. Imprinted on the inner lining is a photograph of Earth taken by the Apollo 11 crew during the first successful visit to the lunar surface. This serves to embody the concepts behind the Moon Parka, which is the “boundless possibilities of humanity, as well as the conviction that the bold and daring can conquer any obstacle.”

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Goldwin and Spiber believe it’s the duty of the present generation to shift away from a short-term, consumerist economic model based on the use of non-renewable petroleum resources, and to move toward a more sustainable model based on renewable and sustainable resources. Through their joint research and development initiative, the companies are striving to re-evaluate the way of thinking about the relationship between nature and mankind.

Goldwin and Spiber hope to arrive at a solution for creating sports apparel items that can support a lifestyle in harmony with nature, and “in doing so…make a considerable contribution to the development of a sustainable world.”

Brewed Protein materials are protein fibers, films and other types of materials manufactured using Spiber’s proprietary fermentation process. Brewed protein materials show great potential for use in a wide range of industries, Spiber said. With a production process that utilizes plant-derived sugars as primary raw ingredients, Brewed protein materials are well placed to address increasing market pressure for animal-free, microplastic-free alternatives in the apparel industry, the company added.

The Moon Parka is planned for a limited release of 50 pieces available initially only in Japan. Spiber has begun construction of a mass production facility for its Brewed Protein materials at the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Rayong, Thailand. With a maximum annual capacity of several hundred tons, the plant is expected to be the world’s largest structural protein fermentation facility.

Commercial production is expected to commence in 2021.