About 400,000 women in Ireland have this condition and don’t know


Author Ruth Gilligan: ‘I have slowly colonised our flat’s small second bedroom into my writing...

Sophie Grenham

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 currently has no women sitting on it. Why?

Lynn Enright

These are the Netflix picks we can’t wait for in March

Jennifer McShane

Let’s set the table: make mealtimes feel more special with these flourishing touches

Megan Burns

The London Fashion Week beauty trends you’ll actually want to wear

Holly O'Neill

The best lipsticks to launch in 2021, from hydrating balms to creamy mattes

Holly O'Neill

Cult perfume brand Le Labo is now a lot easier to buy in Ireland

Holly O'Neill

‘There can be no change without a voice’: Miss Limerick resigns from Miss Ireland competition

Jennifer McShane

Image / Fashion

Science Can Now Grow Leather In Lab, Save Animals

by Jeanne Sutton
28th Apr 2015

Isn’t science great? Smallpox isn’t the global killer that it was thanks to vaccinations. Women no longer ingest arsenic to? improve their complexion, opting for a trip to Boots instead. And now science has made another leap for good.

Labs are starting to grow real leather; meaning handbags made from animal hide just got a little bit more socially acceptable. The Cut reported on the breakthrough this week, citing Sophie Hackford of WIRED Consulting as she spoke at Cond? Nast’s Luxury Conference about how technology is impacting the fashion industry.

Sustainable fabrics are the latest buzz topic in fashion – we were only talking about bamboo socks last week – and Hackford revealed that lab-grown leather is a recent reality. Modern Meadow is a Brooklyn-based laboratory startup that takes a biopsy from a living cow, which remains alive, and replicates the cells taken. Engineers can manipulate the leather to make it easier for manufacturers. Hackford explained the benefits of these breakthroughs:

??there’s a point where you can actually super-engineer these materials to give them tunable properties – And of course when you’re tuning these materials yourself, there’s no hair to remove, there are no scars, no insect bites, no waste, because clearly you’re just growing what you need – You can also dial up or dial down, as I said, the softness, the breathability, the durability of the leather – you can even weave electronics through the piece.?

Holy Moly, eh?

However, the real woah moment in Hackford’s presentation came when she married the growing of real leather with a sort of biological 3D printing. Turns out that engineers can go beyond manipulating the texture of leather, but they can grow this skin around a shape. She explained how seams and sewing could become a thing of the past, ?you can grow a handbag without any seams. You can grow a car seat without any seams. You can grow a glove without any seams.?

While this is some serious Battlestar Galactica stuff, it’s also really cool. ?Ethical? brands might start to work with leather and designers who find production costs prohibitive may be able to find a way to tap into a global market the Wall Street Journal estimate may reach €91.2 billion in 2018.

What do you think? Would you buy a lab grown handbag? Do you think brands like Mulberry and Herm’s will try out this brave new world?

The Cut


Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun

LOVE this? Why not have IMAGE delivered directly to your door each month? Check out this month’s offer here.

Also Read

10 wardrobe storage hacks that make sorting simple

In need of some extra space for your clothes but...

By Edaein OConnell

Stuck in a fashion rut? Here are 6 ways to get out of your comfort zone

If you’re stuck in a fashion rut, there’s no need...

By Freya Drohan

Baseball caps are back in fashion and ready to hide your roots

Wear a baseball cap with absolutely everything; they're easy to pull off and they're a runway-approved saviour of your roots.

By Holly O'Neill

Meet Irishwoman Carmel Snow, the Anna Wintour of the 1930s


The 10 fashion trends Princess Diana brought us first

Give your pandemic wardrobe — you know, your Zoom collars and walking outfits — a royal update with the unwavering fashion trends of the year; anything Princess Diana wore in the Eighties.

By Holly O'Neill

Vibrant beaded jewellery is the joy-giving boost your WFH wardrobe needs

By Holly O'Neill

Irish fashion insiders on the future of fashion


Kamala Harris
Please, keep asking Vice President Kamala Harris who she’s wearing

Vice President Kamala Harris' fashion choices are not only intentional and important, they're vital to a diversifying industry, writes New York-based fashion editor Freya Drohan.

By Freya Drohan