The North Face Made a Parka From Synthetic Spider Silk

Five times stronger than steel, three times tougher than nylon or Kevlar, yet a fraction of the width of human hair, spider silk is one of the planet’s most valuable, if tricky to mass-produce, textiles. Spiber, a biomaterials firm from Japan, has spent the better part of a decade trying to crack its genetic code. Comparing its quest with President John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot,” Spiber finally discovered a way to reprogram bacteria to produce fibroin, the structural protein in spider silk. It named the resulting material—Qmonos—after kumonosu, or “spider web” in Japanese. Now ready for its “giant leap,” Spiber has partnered with The North Face to unveil the “Moon Parka,” a protective garment designed to protect its wearer from Antarctica’s inhospitable environs.


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