Read our latest blog artcles.

Content Type

SOTIR Webinar Announcement


Nicole Rawling, Co-Founder and CEO of Material Innovation Initiative was recently joined by Elaine Siu, Advisor to MII and researcher into new industries incubation, for a webinar looking back at the state of the next-gen materials industry in 2023, following our latest publication in this series of annual reporting. Nicole and Elaine shared valuable insights on this topic and answered intriguing questions from attendees.


We’ve probably all been there at some point: picking up a nice pair of leather shoes, and thinking, “Leather can’t be all that bad. It’s a byproduct, isn’t it? It’s making the most of a dead animal.” You’re not alone if you have. The “leather as a byproduct” claim is rife and intuitively seems to make sense. But to what extent do leather sales really support the meat industry, and could they play a more pivotal role in keeping it afloat than most of us assume? What will the implications be for the meat industry if we see a disruption of leather?


MII’s recent report, What Makes Silk, Silk? Revisited expands upon the original 2021 version to bring you updated insights into the growing next-gen silk industry. It profiles 14 different innovators creating the next generation of silk. January 2024, Thomasine Dolan Dow, Director of Material Innovation and Design at MII, spoke with three of these pioneering companies which are each using different technologies to create silk-like filament fibers that not only mimic silk but have the potential to replace the polyester and nylon versions of silk prevalent in the current material landscape. Read on for the key takeaways from the discussion, or watch the recording below.

The Innovators

Our panelists were:

Martin Lankes, Senior product manager of fiber business at AMSilk. AMSilk makes a silk protein via bacterial fermentation. It is produced by genetically engineered microbes and spun into fiber. It is a high-performance filament fiber that is thinner and more delicate than traditional insect-produced silk. The fibers are biodegradable in marine, anaerobic and aerobic conditions and contain no petrochemicals. AMSilk is headquartered in Germany. 


Key Takeaways

  • The global leather goods market is estimated at US $250B.
  • Approximately 1 billion + cattle are raised for slaughter on earth currently; 100 million animals are killed for fur every year.
  • ...

MII attended the Vogue Business Fashion Futures event last week alongside 300 industry thought-leaders, designers and startup founders to discuss the changes coming to fashion.

Here are our top takeaways from the event: 


This festive period we’re revisiting 24 of the most exciting and important advancements in the next-gen materials industry.


On October 15th 2023, musician Tanya O’Callaghan moderated an exciting panel discussion, exploring the role of film, music and fashion in helping to save the planet and animals. Following a private streaming of SLAY, the panelists, Rebecca Cappelli, the creator of the film “Slay: The Fashion Industry’s Complicity in Animal Cruelty”, Nicole Rawling, Co-Founder & CEO of Material Innovation Initiative and musician and activist Moby came together to share their insights. They explored the cognitive dissonance between different animal-based materials in the fashion industry, such as fur, leather, silk, and wool. They also discussed the demand for next-gen materials, the importance of language in shaping consumer perceptions, and the need for more investment in the industry. The panelists emphasised the need to address the ethical treatment of animals in the fashion industry and the importance of activism in driving change. They also discussed the role of film, music, and fashion in raising awareness and promoting sustainable alternatives. The panel concluded with a call to action for individuals to support next-gen materials, buy less, and share more information about the industry.


Adopting next-gen materials that are high-performance, animal-free, and environmentally preferred is key to shifting the world away from relying on unsustainable material supplies and practices.


How ISA TanTec Has Diversified to Include Next-Gen Materials

ISA TanTec is a global leader in the manufacturing of Next-Gen materials, specializing in producing sustainable leathers and sustainable additional materials for footwear, handbag, apparel, and accessories. The company is represented by its trademarked LITE (Low Impact to the Environment) manufacturing concept in all facilities. The LITE concept defines and guarantees a high standard of environmental sustainability in the manufacturing process.Dr. Reiner Hengstmann is the Vice President of Additional Materials at ISA Next-Gen Materials. He was the Global Director for Sustainability and Compliance at the sporting goods company Puma from 1999 to 2016 and subsequently, Senior Head of Global Sustainability at Hugo Boss in Germany. His main areas of work include chemicals management, new materials, sustainability training, and socio-environmental impacts in the consumer goods industry. 


By Sydney Gladman, Ph.D.

How MII defines TRLs in the context of the next-gen materials industry


Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest in material innovation.


(Material company, investor, research, media, apparel brand, automotive company, home goods company, Think Tank, NGO, government agency, other - please specify)
Join Our Newsletter(Required)

Follow Us

General Information