“At the beginning, the idea of Modern Meadow was animal products without the animal,” says Andras Forgacs. Forgacs is the co-founder and chief executive of Modern Meadow, a company behind a brand new bio-printing marvel. The company has just engineered bio-printed leather out of fermented collagen. They refer to this new bio-printed leather as Zoa.
Modern Meadows tried multiple methods to achieve leather printing. At first, they grew skin cells in the lab. later on, they refined their approach by fermenting collagen. The resulting material from the fermentation process was eerily similar to leather.
The company was originally aiming to produce bio-printed foods but has also moved into the production of textiles and leather. Their method also allows them to tinker with the properties of leather to produce it in the exact way they would want. This allows them to alter the weights, strength, elasticity and breathability of the material. Modern Meadows has raised $53.5 million in revenue so far. This money is the result of grants and tax credits as well as $40 million from Horizons Ventures and Iconiq Capital in 2016.
Bio-printed Animal Products
Leather is one of the most common materials in, not just fashion, but also furniture and accessories. It is so big, in fact, that it can be a 100 billion dollar a year industry. This new method of producing leather could disrupt the conventional supply chain due to certain advantages it possesses. One of the reasons that it poses as a viable alternative is that it less wasteful.
“As a designer, the most exciting part is the creativity that this technology enables,” says Suzzanne Lee, CCO. “It enables you to create things in completely new ways. Textures, weights, strength, elasticity, breathability — all of these are now tunable knobs of creativity that we didn’t have to this extent before. Whether linked to performance or aesthetic, they are incredibly exciting because they open up more bandwidth for design.”
The Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” exhibition will display the company’s works on October 1st. The company hopes to drive awareness of its materials through these sorts of exhibitions.
Image and video retrieved from Modern Meadows.