Plastic-free, fake fur made from nettle, hemp and flax fibres envelops these special edition bags that Danish fashion brand Ganni has unveiled at Copenhagen Fashion Week.
The one offs are a riff on Ganni’s classic Bou bag made in collaboration with materials company BioFluff, which claims to have developed the “world’s first plant-based fur”.
Unlike existing faux furs, the shaggy textile contains zero plastics or petrochemicals, according to the manufacturer. Instead, its hairy fibres are extracted from plants and agricultural waste using special enzymes that are also plant-derived.
“We source the fibres in Europe and create the fur in Italy using our patented process,” BioFluff co-founder and CEO Martin Stübler told Dezeen.
“We use a combination of existing textile technologies, science and the savoir-faire of the Italian fur industry,” he continued.
“The fur ‘hairs’ are genuine plant fibres, meaning we do not process the fibres into yarn, which avoids the energy-intensive yarn spinning process.”
Although a full lifecycle analysis is still in the works, early estimates suggest that BioFluff produces 50 per cent fewer emissions than plastic faux fur while cutting out the issue of microplastics.
BioFluff also estimates that its fur produces up to 90 per cent fewer emissions than real animal fur by eliminiting the need to raise and feed livestock and the extensive processing required for pelts.
For the plant fibres, BioFluff uses a mixture of nettle, hemp and flax, half of which the company says can be sourced from agricultural waste streams.
The natural brown colour of the resulting textile can be bleached to become off-white or dyed using mineral pigments – pink and black in the case of the Ganni bags, which were finished with a braided handle made of recycled leather.
BioFluff fur would break down in an industrial composting facility after “several weeks”, Stübler estimates, although no compostability study has been completed so far.
Marrying Stübler’s background in biochemistry with the textile know-how of his co-founder Steven Usdan, the company has been able to create a range of different finishes – some resembling fur while others are closer to fleece or shearling.
“We have a different range of products, some more similar to animal fur while others have a unique aesthetic and feel, and we are constantly developing and improving,” said Stübler.
“We achieved this through iterations and feedback from brands like Ganni.”
This year marked the first time in 10 years that Ganni has failed to show at Copenhagen Fashion Week.
Instead, the brand staged the Future, Talent, Fabrics exhibitions to spotlight emerging Nordic designers and innovative materials the company is exploring as part of its Fabrics of the Future platform.
Alongside the BioFluff bag, Ganni showcased several bags made from Celium – a leather alternative grown by bacteria, which the brand has previously used to make a biker jacket.
On the path to halving its emissions by 2027, Ganni has experimented with a range of different materials including a yarn made from banana waste that was turned into a three-piece tracksuit.
However, climate experts are increasingly warning that the fashion industry’s investments in more sustainable materials are not enough to offset the climate impact caused by its overproduction.
Future, Talent, Fabrics was on show as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week from 31 January to 2 February 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.