LVMH collaborates with pioneering research labs to develop new biomaterials



On the occasion of Earth Day, LVMH, Fendi, Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins, UAL, announce a key strategic collaboration that leverages the potential of design-science academic research to prototype new bio-textiles. This two-year research initiative will develop new lab-grown fur fibres for luxury fashion.

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. This collaboration between world leaders in their fields aims to create an entirely new product that helps protect the planet.

To sustain and regenerate the environment, it is essential to learn from the biological world and explore new ways of working with micro-organisms and living systems. LVMH, including Fendi, and Central Saint Martins have made a commitment to develop research in regenerative luxury through their partnership. This brand new partnership with Imperial College London brings together the expertise of its Professor Tom Ellis in synthetic biology and Central Saint Martins’ Professor Carole Collet in biodesign, to grow novel functional biomaterials for luxury.

“The LVMH LIFE 360 environmental strategy integrates a research and innovation program dedicated to sustainable luxury: inventing new materials, new regenerative practices, and new technologies will enable our Maisons to achieve their climate and biodiversity ambitions. We are pleased that the Central Saint Martins-LVMH program dedicated to regenerative luxury, Maison/0 set up in 2017, leads to concrete results, such as this initiative. The first of its kind, this collaborative approach, with also Fendi and the Imperial College London, will allow the creation of new lab-grown biomaterials,” declared Hélène Valade, Environmental Development Director of LVMH.

“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 and we are proud of this new step alongside these globally renowned institutions and LVMH,” added Serge Brunschwig, Chairman & CEO of Fendi.

“Biodesign research is a means to provoke alternative futures and transition to new models of production informed by how biology works. Learning from Nature, and working at the intersection of design and biotechnology research, is key to the exploration of such future-facing innovation. I am therefore delighted to collaborate with our Maison/0 partner, LVMH, as well as Fendi and Professor Tom Ellis at Imperial College London to prototype a like for like alternative lab-grown fur fibre for luxury,” stated Carole Collet, Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures, Central Saint Martins, Director of Maison/0, the Central Saint Martins-LVMH Creative Platform for Regenerative Luxury.

“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. It’s exciting to begin this new collaboration with luxury leader LVMH and globally recognised fashion brand Fendi, and a world-leading expert in biodesign, Professor Carole Collet at Central Saint Martins,” said Tom Ellis, Professor of Synthetic Genome Engineering at the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London.