Bolt Threads Goes Vertical With Best Made Co. Acqusition

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Photo credit: Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads has become a vertical apparel manufacturer in a most unusual way.

The Bay Area biotechnology firm that recently struck a partnership with Stella McCartney, has purchased New York City-based Best Made Co., an outdoor apparel company that sells clothing, axes and camping gear.

“In order to deliver breakthrough product to customers, we need to innovate from first principle to final sale – this is why our first acquisition as a company is Best Made Co.,” Bolt Threads said in a statement on the acquisition. “The brand is known for its distinctive identity, beautiful approach to design, and commitment to incredible craftsmanship and quality. Creating products from the ground up with Best Made Co. allows for both of our brands to bypass a traditional supply chain, and provides an opportunity to design, test and creatively market to customers.”

Bolt Threads engineers fibers from scratch based on proteins found in nature and then develops cleaner, closed-loop processes for manufacturing using green chemistry practices. Exemplified in the dress co-created with Stella McCartney, Bolt Threads is able to create silk using yeast, making the textile vegan-friendly and staying true to the designer’s vegetarian philosophy. Solution oriented, this process reduces pollution, creates long-term sustainability and is cruelty-free.

[Read more on spider silk: Why Synthetic Spider Silk Could be the Future of Advanced Apparel Materials]

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of Best Made Company’s 25 employees will join Bolt Threads.

Last summer, Bolt Threads landed $50 million in funding and partnered with outdoor clothing company Patagonia to continue developing synthetic spider silk for apparel.

In March, the company released a limited edition knit necktie made of 100 percent Boltspun spider silk—the first spider silk product ever available for purchase.

The unisex tie is 100 percent spider silk made by humans using the company’s proprietary technology. It is the culmination of seven years of research and design, and embodies the company’s mission to produce sustainable performance fabrics for commercial use.

“We wanted to demonstrate the reality of a completely new way of manufacturing textiles, one that has nearly unlimited potential for innovation and also produces a sustainable product,” said Dan Widmaier, chief executive officer at Bolt Threads. “Over the past seven years, a team of dozens of scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers has worked tirelessly to get us to this milestone.”

Best Made’s store is located on White Street in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood. It also sells through its web site, bestmadeco.com.

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