If you sell leather goods, you are dealing in products made from animals. But times are changing and customers may soon be requesting something more in line with evolving ethical and environmental standards.
Check out Modern Meadow , a Brooklyn-based company that uses tissue and cell engineering technology to create lab grown leather.
This isn’t like the faux leather (or “pleather”) you might see at discount stores. It’s real leather — it’s just lab grown leather.
Lab grown leather doesn’t require actual animals to be slaughtered as part of the process. That’s a plus for the animals, the environment, and potentially consumers as well.
The cost of leather has gone up in recent years. That’s due to rising demand as well as some environmental factors that have impacted traditional leather production. For the same reasons, scientists have also begun working on creating lab grown meat products.
But Modern Meadow thinks that lab grown leather is headed for consumers first. And it’s difficult to argue with that.
Aside from the more relaxed regulations on leather goods in comparison to food products, lab grown leather seems to be something consumers might feel more comfortable with at this point. If consumers are going to take a risk on a completely new type of product, it seems they would be more likely to do so with something other than food.
But the company’s goal is not to create a novelty type of product that people will buy just because of its unique nature or benefits to animals or the environment.
Instead, they hope to create a product that’s actually useful for consumers and businesses that produce leather goods. Modern Meadow’s CEO Andras Forgacs told  Fast Company:
“Our goal is not perfect biomimicry. We’re not looking to create the, “I can’t believe this is not slaughtered leather, or I can’t believe this is not a slaughtered hamburger.” It’s to create products that if you were to design from the ground up, you could actually imbue with better properties in truly desirable ways.”
If the company is able to create leather that’s up to, or even higher than, the same quality standard as regular leather, it could absolutely make a huge difference in the leather industry. The ethical and environmental benefits could be an added bonus too.
Leather Jackets  Photo via Shutterstock