Leather comes from cows. Simple as that. Except, Modern Meadow, a biotech firm that is undoubtedly living up to its name, has invented a process to ‘bio-fabricate’ leather in their labs.
Modern Meadow started out in 2011 when its founders—CEO Andras Forgacs and his father and chief scientific officer Gabor Forgacs, decided that they wanted to move from engineering human tissue (see: Organovo) to engineering animal tissue.
The firm believes in uniting design, biology, and engineering together to create technology and products that reduce animal involvement and work towards achieving worldwide sustainability.
Leather is the tanned skin of an animal. Cow, pig, sheep, alligator and more. Regardless of animal type, the main component of skin is collagen. Modern Meadow, through bio-fabrication, has developed a process to artificially create collagen in the lab through DNA manipulation.
The animal-friendly, bio-fabricated leather materials can be produced to the size, shape, and design specification required. And naturally, these artificially developed leather materials sport none of the defects normally found in animal leather such as scars, spots, marks etc.
“We begin where traditional leather ends.”
Additionally, Modern Meadow also claims that their tanning process is more environmentally friendly due to the fact that they only practice the final stages of the procedure. The materials are preserved and then treated to achieve the required suppleness and finish. Overall, their process involved less water, lesser chemicals, and even less energy.