Everlane’s ‘Bio-Tex’ Tote a Signal to ‘New Day’ for Leather?

This fall, Everlane tote bags are getting a bio-based makeover.

The sustainable brand is teaming up with BioFabbrica — a joint venture between materials maker Modern Meadow and Italian mill Limonta. The companies will unify their expertise in innovation and design to introduce a new kind of leather alternative created from a bio-fabricated textile called Bio-Tex. The material will be used in a version of Everlane’s “Day Tote” to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to environmentally conscious materials and storied craftsmanship.

“We’ve been really focused on decreasing our environmental footprint for the better part of five years,” Everlane founder Michael Preysman, said in an interview with WWD. “When we did those science-based targets, we saw that leather was the heaviest footprint on a per-product basis.”

In 2021, leather made up 2 percent of Everlane’s total material use by volume.

The companies commissioned a peer-reviewed sustainability expert to conduct an LCA (cradle to gate) comparing Bio-Tex to leather and existing synthetics, finding a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reductions in water and land use.

While not specifying exact material breakdown, the tote boasts a majority of bio-based content at present, including Lenzing Viscose from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests for the tote’s backing, in addition to the Bio-Tex base.

“What’s unique about this — it’s produced in Limonta’s facilities. Limonta is one of the most esteemed [experts] on leather and materials based in Italy — for the luxury market,” Preysman said, adding that Modern Meadow bears the scientific prowess to complement the storied mill.

As far as scaling up the material across product lines, he said, “There’s a couple of challenges out there. One of which is the continued [preferred duties for leather goods imports].”

Modern Meadow’s technology is a “plant-based solution delivering the functionality that comes with proteins,” according to Anna Jain Bakst, chair and chief executive officer of Modern Meadow. She joined the materials innovator four years ago on the premise of making a “positive difference” in the fashion world, having been in the industry for decades, including at companies like DKNY and Kate Spade.

“We didn’t have the choices we have today for more sustainable input,” said Bakst. Materials — like Bio-Tex from Modern Meadow — are commercially ready solutions that any brand can tap.

Everlane, she added, has helped with generating “awareness” and presence for responsible fashion. The tote collaboration is “a combination of lab, R&D blended with Italian craftsmanship and know-how and [a product] the Everlane customer would respond to.”

The “New Day Market Tote,” will debut this fall in four colorways and retail for $225.

“I think we’re at a period in time where we’re seeing a lot of progress,” Bakst said. “We’re not at perfection because perfection would really be solving for end of life. We are making climate-responsible choices as it relates to the inputs.”

Source: WWD