The Fabrics Of The Future Will Be Eco-Friendlier, Cooler And Reusable

Startups drive a lot of the innovation in the fabric space, so Crunchbase News decided to take a look at what they’ve been up to lately.

An investment data dive turned up dozens of fabric-focused startups funded in the past three years.

But in an effort to see what your future closet might look like, we’ve aggregated a few of the top trends below, from recyclables to fungus-based leather to clothes that cool you down.

One of the biggest themes in fabric startup investment is around eco-friendly versions of popular materials.

Yet while more sustainable versions of popular fabrics are available, making them cost-competitive remains a challenge, said Karla Mora, managing partner at Alante Capital, a venture fund that makes socially-conscious investments in the textile and apparel space.

That said, Mora said early rollouts of recyclable cotton and biodegradable polyesters and cotton materials largely come from higher margin brands.

In the chart below, we look at a few of the funded companies that are deploying new materials or underutilized organic sources in their fabrics:

Here, the most heavily-funded player is Bolt Threads, which has raised $213 million to date to develop and commercialize new materials, including a Microsilk, a bio-engineered silk spun from the same proteins as a spider’s web, and Mylo, a leather substitute made from mycelium, the branching underground structure of mushrooms.

The Brooklyn company has raised more than $50 million to date to build novel bio-fabricated materials.

It’s first demo product Zoa, a leather-like material made from engineered collagen protein, is not yet commercially available.

While a lot of money has gone into the fabric space in the past few years, it’s yet to generate outsize exits.

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