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Why Synthetic Spider Silk Could be the Future of Advanced Apparel Materials

In the coming years, consumers’ wardrobes may be filled with synthetic spider silk garments.

Bolt Threads, an advanced biotech materials company, launched its first-ever commercially available synthetic spider silk item at SXSW taking place in Dallas, Texas March 10-19. At the event, Bolt Threads released a limited edition knit necktie made with 100 percent Boltspun spider silk. As a pioneer of the next generation of advanced materials, Bolt Threads wants to make synthetic spider silk a commercially available and sustainable alternative for textile production.

“We wanted to demonstrate the reality of a completely new way of manufacturing textiles, one that has nearly unlimited potential for innovation and produces a sustainable product. Over the past seven years, a team of dozens of scientists, engineers, technicians and designers has worked tirelessly to get us to this milestone,” Bolt Threads CEO Dan Widmaier said. “We’re proud and excited about this achievement and what it means for the future of textile production.”

Widmaier will showcase the tie at his SXSW 2017 panel Saturday, “Nature: The Future of Fashion and Tech.” Using the company’s proprietary technology, the unisex tie is composed of 100 percent spider silk made by humans. Bolt Threads will release 50 limited edition synthetic spider silk neckties, which will be available to purchase starting March 11. The ties will be sold via a lottery system from March 11 to March 14. Lottery winners will be able to buy a Boltspun silk tie and be part of the company’s mission to scale more sustainable performance fabrics.

Established in 2009, Bolt Threads was co-founded by chief scientific officer David Breslauer, vice president of operations Ethan Mirsky and CEO Dan Widmaier to develop novel protein materials, including spider silk, for commercial use. With its proprietary technology, the company created a method to closely mimic natural silk for mass commercial production. Bolt Thread’s synthetic silk material enables companies to pursue more eco-friendly and non-toxic processes for textile manufacturing. Many retailers, including Patagonia, have already supported Bolt Threads in transforming the future of apparel materials.