Australia’s famed RM Williams boot may begin being made out of a plant-based leather-based different following a $26 million funding by mining magnate Andrew Forrest in a US sustainable textiles firm.
Forrest’s Tattarang funding agency introduced on Tuesday night it had backed Illinois-based Natural Fiber Welding’s $US85 million ($114 million) collection B funding spherical, pouring in $US20 million ($26.8 million) alongside a raft of high-profile traders reminiscent of BMW and Ralph Lauren.
Natural Fiber Welding’s (NFW) most important merchandise are Clarus, a set of high-performance sustainable textiles, and Mirum, a plastic-free, plant-based leather-based different that’s absolutely biodegradable.
It’s the latter that Tattarang is eyeing as a product that might probably be utilized by one other one of many agency’s investments: RM Williams boots. Tattarang chief funding officer John Hartman mentioned Mirum may present “wide-ranging” alternatives for the enduring Australian model, although harassed the corporate’s core vary would stay conventional leather-based.
“Leather is of course deeply entwined in the DNA of RM Williams, and we have no plan to change that, however we know consumers are increasingly seeking high-performance, plastic-free leather alternatives. NFW could provide an opportunity for us to further explore this with RM Williams,” Hartman mentioned.
“Aligning with Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s ultimate goal to eliminate all plastic waste through the initiatives of Minderoo Foundation, Tattarang and RM Williams are on a journey of continuous improvement to remove plastics and other synthetics from our supply chains.”
Forrest acquired RM Williams in late 2020 as a part of a $190 million deal, which was posed as a return of the corporate to Australian arms after years of international possession. Following the acquisition, the corporate mentioned it will focus extra on sourcing Australian-made leathers for its boots, and produce as a lot of its boot manufacturing again to Australia as doable.
If RM Williams had been to make use of NFW’s leather-like merchandise, it will not be the primary Australian firm to take action, with Fitzroy-based bag and pockets maker Bellroy additionally making a line of Mirum-based equipment. Global manufacturers reminiscent of H&M, Allbirds and Alexander McQueen have additionally used NFW’s textiles of their merchandise.