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 enivrons.
Spiber paid further homage to its inspiration by giving the jacket the same gilded hue as the threads of the golden orb spider. Extending the lunar allusion, the company dubbed the color “Moon Gold.”
“The moon is the most remote and extreme environment upon which mankind has ever set foot,” Spiber wrote on its website.”Many said this ‘moonshot’ was an impossible goal, but the brave, passionate men and women of the Apollo program changed the meaning of this word forever.”
Spiber hailed the moon landing as the moment the “impossible was made possible.”
“We sincerely believe that even moonshots can be achieved when humanity is willing to cooperate and focus their efforts on these high-risk but high-impact endeavors,” it added.
Like Apollo, the practical application of protein materials was widely considered an unattainable goal. “The technological and financial barriers involved are significant,” Spiber said. “However, we believe that this giant leap is necessary to push humanity forward into a more sustainable future.”
The Moon Parka is currently touring The North Face stores across Japan.