Apr 22, 2022
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LVMH, Fendi, London universities develop keratin-based lab-grown fur

Apr 22, 2022

The luxury fashion brands that were once the biggest users of fur are now at the forefront of the drive to replace it. And on Friday, LVMH and its Fendi brand announced a link-up with a group of London-based institutions to develop lab-grown fur.


The French luxury conglomerate and the Italian label are working with Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins on “a key strategic collaboration that leverages the potential of design-science academic research to prototype new bio-textiles”.

It’s a two-year research initiative that “will develop new lab-grown fur fibres for luxury fashion”.

The partners said that “for the first time, keratin will be the focus of a study to develop a fibre capable of mimicking a range of luxury materials including fur”.

The announcement comes a few months after Dolce & Gabbana announced that it would stop using fur but would work with furriers “in the creation of eco-fur garments and accessories, a sustainable faux fur alternative that uses recycled and recyclable materials”.

It’s all part of huge efforts being made at luxury level to create materials that have the appeal and qualities of real fur without causing suffering to animals.

The LVMH/Fendi project will make the most of the expertise in synthetic biology of Imperial College’s Professor Tom Ellis and Central Saint Martins’ Professor Carole Collet’s knowledge of biodesign. Professor Ellis said that in the last decade, “our understanding of biological materials and how they are made by nature has increased dramatically. It is now the perfect time to initiate the idea of designing fibres for fashion made sustainably from microbes”.

Hélène Valade, Environmental Development Director of LVMH, added: “The LVMH Life 360 environmental strategy integrates a research and innovation programme dedicated to sustainable luxury. Inventing new materials, new regenerative practices, and new technologies will enable our Maisons to achieve their climate and biodiversity ambitions.”

And Fendi chairman and CEO Serge Brunschwig highlighted the fact that “ever since its foundation in 1925, Fendi has been at the forefront of experimentation, pioneering on traditional and innovative workmanships, providing our clients with the best sourced materials according to their personal choices. Today we are actively and constantly engaged in the research and development of new resources that can offer even more sustainable options.” 

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