Sep 28, 2023
by Karl Smith
nanamica and Spiber Brew-Up a More Sustainable Balmacaan Coat
by Karl Smith
Sep 28, 2023

It’s always good to see a brand walking the walk – working to align the realities of production with the way it’s positioned (and sold) to the general public. With the release of a new, materially-progressive product, Japanese label nanamica now falls into that category.

Describing itself as dedicated to making “standard wear for the current age,” the Tokyo-based outfit has clearly spent some time thinking about what that “current age” demands and what it represents.

Collaborating with Spiber, nanamica has reworked one of its signature pieces – the high-end, structurally minimal Balmacaan Coat – with the material innovator’s Brewed Protein fibers.

The fabric, which is free from fossil-derived plastics or animal-derived materials, is a lab-grown, low-impact alternative to traditional “premium” materials like cashmere and merino – designed to emulate the look and feel, but without the heavy environmental burden from farming livestock.

It’s worth noting, though, that nanamica hasn’t announced a plan to rework all its pieces with planet-friendlier or cruelty-free fabrics. Having already established the forward-thinking “REGENERATIVE CIRCLE” project, however, this feels like yet another step in the right direction.

Manufactured entirely in Japan, the coat – as well as the material innovation aspect – can also claim impressively low production mileage, ensuring that positive steps taken in one area aren’t canceled out by failings in another.

It’s a sense of mindfulness and balance that, unfortunately, is far-too-rarely achieved (or, to be honest, even really considered) by many of the brand’s peers. Where nanamica’s contemporaries are often content to use eco-credentials as a marketing tool at best (and a smokescreen for generally poor practices at worst), the Tokyo label genuinely seems intent on pushing for better.

“We are developing the concept of ‘Regenerative Circle’ and aiming to establish the practicality of Brewed Protein as a next-generation innovative material,” nanamica explains in the product’s accompanying press release, adding that the longterm goal is the “replacing of environmentally burdensome resources and animal-derived materials, thus regenerating the state of the Earth’s environment, society, and industry.”

All of which may not amount to a commitment to immediate, sweeping change, but does represent something potentially more important and longer lasting.

nanamica describes the retooled outerwear piece as a product it will “pass on into the future” – not because of its lasting impact on the planet, but because of its lasting impact on ideas about what constitutes a quality material and what clothing production can and should look like going forward.

In showcasing the capabilities of Spiber’s Brewed Protein as the base for premium, functional outerwear, nanamica is showing us not only what the “current age” has to offer, but also at what the label itself has to offer to the future.

Releasing 29th September at select nanamica stores across Japan and the United States, as well as on the brand’s online store, the Brewed Protein Balmacaan Coat comes in two low-key colorways – “Natural” and “Black” – and is priced at $1900 USD.