Werewool looks to proteins for colored textiles

May 22, 2023 |

In New York, designer Chiu-Lian Lee is using lab-growth proteins to produce colored textiles, having been inspired to create sustainable change for the fashion industry while a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2018. “I was really frustrated about the status quo of how textiles were being made,” she tells Fast Company.

Lee encountered proteins’ colorful side through the school’s biodesign program, where she saw bright pink fluorescence of a protein extracted from coral.  “That vial really captivated us—how nature can create functionality and color through protein structure,” Lee says. “You change the shape of the protein, and that’s how you can change the color, essentially,” she says.

Lee founded Werewool to commercialize the idea. The company, which is backed by seed funding from Material Impact and Sofinnova Partners, has produced early prototype pink fibers, which it hopes to turn into textiles. “We’re hoping to have a pilot product in the next 12 months,” says Lee. “Those will be neon pink protein fibers for your biodegradable pink yoga pants.”

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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