There aren’t many things further, figuratively speaking, from Paris Fashion Week than the corn stalks and bean fields of Illinois. But when Stella McCartney rolled out her latest collection recently, the stars of the show were three designer bags that were made without leather, without animals, without plastic, with only natural fibers. The material that looked and felt like leather? It’s called MIRUM. And it led Stella to declare, “The future of of fashion has arrived!” And it started in Peoria, Illinois. A former college professor, Luke Haverhals, started a company called Natural Fiber Welding that takes the inedible and unused parts of corn, soybeans, and all sorts of other plants, and turns them into materials that can be used in everything from designer bags to shoes to car interiors to furniture. In the audio clip below, Haverhals tells WGN’s Steve Alexander how all sorts of products can be made, and are already being made, from plant-based materials created by NFW. And he and his 300 employees at factories in Peoria are just getting started; he says there are over 1,500 companies lined up to buy NFW materials, and the company is planning to build factories in other countries.
Revolutionary animal-free designer handbags by Stella McCartney unveiled at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week. (Photos from Stella McCartney)
The designer unveils animal-free and plastic-free handbags at her Paris Fashion Week show.