Editor's ChoiceCore77 editors selected this project as an outstanding example of great design in 2023See our writeup here
The impact of the fashion industry continues to be detrimental to the future of our environment. Microplastics have managed to continually invade the products we use and rely on in our everyday lives, and fashion brands seldom spring to search for innovative ways to lower their environmental footprint. von Holzhausen is a science-driven and research-backed material innovation company that creates sustainable, vegan leather alternatives. Leveraging an innovation lab in Los Angeles, CA, von Holzhausen's focus is to harness the power of plants, recycled fibers, and biodegradable materials to craft some of the most durable and sustainable materials to ever exist at scale, without compromising on performance or style.
Von Holzhausen has identified one of the most pervasive issues in the vegan and synthetic leather industries: the used of plastic and petroleum-based materials, namely in the form of topcoats. Leather is a $116B industry with catastrophic effects on climate change. Livestock production causes tremendous pollution while leather tanning contaminates soil and waterways with toxic chemicals. Synthetic leather, a $78B industry, might seem like the answer, except both industries rely on plastic topcoats, a trillion dollar industry to make them durable and long-lasting. For every square meter of petroleum-based PU/PVC synthetic leather, the topcoat plastic used is equal to roughly 15-22 water bottles. These coatings perpetuate our reliance on petroleum, stay in landfills for centuries and break down into harmful micro plastics. The project to complete von Holzhausen's Liquidplant™ topcoat technology has been 2.5 years in the making, but has created a first-of-its-kind solution.
As a part of their core mission, von Holzhausen continuously iterates on its innovations to create remarkable materials with less carbon emissions than any other materials currently on the market. With sustainability and durability at the forefront of operations, the company puts every single material through rigorous testing, both in the lab and tactically out in the world, to ensure each product has unmatched performance and durability long-term. Through von Holzhausen's two-pronged business model, the company can experiment with its brand of vegan accessories, while ultimately providing viable solutions for enterprise companies.
von Holzhausen is committed to innovating materials and technologies that have a world-changing environmental impact across industries, all while remaining luxurious and durable. The project was led by von Holzhausen's Founder and CEO Vicki von Holzhausen. Vicki is a trained automotive designer with 15+ years of experience at top companies such as GM, Mercedes, and Audi. Having grown the business into a scalable resource for startups and enterprise companies alike, she is passionate about helping lower environmental footprints and unlocking the potential of sustainable materials. von Holzhausen is excited to explore additional partnerships that can further bring Liquidpant and its possibilities to life. The ultimate goal is to disrupt the sustainable approach to materials as we know it.
The most significant barrier to creating low-carbon materials is a durable topcoat. A new demand has been created for plastic and even recycled plastic because it has been the only option in existence for availability and reliability. For as long as it has dominated countless industries, its harmful impact on the environment has been overlooked. A solution like this has never existed at scale: von Holzhausen prioritized creating this solution to be as durable as possible, without compromising the environment or utilizing resources in excess.
On March 2, von Holzhausen released Liquidplant™ the first-of-its-kind, 100% plant-based and plastic-free topcoat technology and material that unlocks massive potential for the fashion industry and beyond. This breakthrough technology has been 2.5 years in the making, and is a result of von Holzhausen's broader mission of transforming plants and recycled fibers into high-performing materials at scale, specifically non animal leathers.
Using nature and science, von Holzhausen created Liquidplant™ to provide a platform for radically new materials that don't rely petroleum and perform with the same functionality than alternatives. Made with naturally biodegradable ingredients like sugar, oil, and seeds transformed through novel chemistries and processes to ensure there are no harmful toxins or microplastics left in the environment, this innovation has immense implications for the future of the material innovation industry.
Many materials are made in two parts: the durable top coat and the base layer. Whether it be mycelium, cactus leather, paper, fabric, wood, plastic, or even animal leather, Liquidplant™ is able to be used within a wide range of applications instead of petroleum based topcoats to make these materials durable and more sustainable. In addition to launching the Liquidplant™ topcoat technology, von Holzhausen is also introducing its new Terra leather material made from agricultural waste, made with their new Terra backing serving as the base layer with the Liquidplant™ topcoat as a sealant.
Liquidplant will become a platform for radically new materials that don't need petroleum to be made functional, the possibilities are endless! This sustainable, performance-driven topcoat leads to more holistically sustainable everyday products. From car interiors, to canvas tote bags, cereal boxes, hardwood floors and even leather all use a petroleum-based topcoat. Liquidplant™ will now be able to be used anywhere that requires a durable topcoat. von Holzhausen also aims to match the cost of automotive grade PU currently made in China and premium bovine leather to make the cost accessible for companies looking to replace their existing topcoats. With unmatched performance and durability and true scaling capabilities, von Holzhausen can supply to industries like automotive, fashion, furniture and beyond with massive potential to lower carbon emissions.
Using plants, recycled content and carbon capture technologies helps von Holzhausen realize their goal of innovating materials with progressively positive impact. Liquidplant achieves 100% plant-based content and starts a new chapter in the industry's journey towards eliminating plastic for good.