Spidey senses textiling: Synthetic spider silk is starting to appear in consumer products

AMSilk has partnered with Omega to create a watch strap from its synthetic spider silk product called BioSteel, as spider silk fabric begins hitting the market.

January 29, 2019

Last March, German biotech company AMSilk introduced a liquid-silk coating (made from modified E. coli bacteria), used for medical and cosmetic implants, that scientists believe could be a safer alternative to silicone.

Now, Quartz reports the synthetic spider silk producer has teamed with Omega, the luxury-watch maker, on a watch strap that blends polyamide and AMSilk’s “Biosteel” synthetic — for $270.

Silking up to its full potential

Because spider silk’s strength is comparable to steel (scientists believe it actually can stop trains), synthetic spider silk has long been the white whale of textile research

AMSilk has made silky headway in the medical and cosmetic industries (it also co-created the first breathable nail polish). But in the apparel industry, AMSilk has only spun up prototypes, like the sneaker it made last year with Adidas… until now.

Recent tech advances have finally made it possible to spin synthetic silk at scale, and the Nato watch strap marks the first commercially available product made with AMSilk’s Biosteel.

A growing web of competitors 

Other synthetic silk makers, like US-based Bolt Threads and Japan’s Spiber, have developed prototypes for companies like The North Face and Stella McCartney, but AMSilk remains at the cutting edge.

According to CEO Jens Klein, “There are 50 or so [Biosteel] products worldwide which you can buy already.” 

The Nato strap is already shipping to countries in Europe, and will be available in the US soon.

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