Modern Synthesis and GANNI Unveil ‘Bou Bag’ Crafted from Bacterial Nanocellulose at London Design Festival

Modern Synthesis, a pioneering biotechnology company specialising in sustainable materials, has partnered with GANNI, the visionary Danish fashion brand, to introduce a revolutionary version of GANNI’s iconic ‘Bou’ handbag. This innovative pilot project showcases the beauty and versatility of Modern Synthesis’ bacterial nanocellulose materials, reimagining the GANNI Bou Bag in a sustainable leather alternative. The stunning handbag is currently on display at the London Design Festival 2023.

The collaboration between Modern Synthesis and GANNI aims to make this unique bag commercially available by early 2025. This initiative is part of GANNI’s Fabrics of the Future program, which seeks to challenge the use of traditional materials in fashion and promote responsible alternatives through collaborations with innovative startups.

The Bou Bag in this pilot project is created using bacterial nanocellulose, an exceptionally strong and fine form of cellulose produced through bacterial fermentation. This biotextile is entirely animal and plastic-free, providing an appealing alternative to traditional leather and plastic-based synthetics. The Modern Synthesis x Ganni Bou Bag represents a significant step in GANNI’s commitment to redefine responsible luxury by continually pushing the boundaries of material innovation. Collaborating with Modern Synthesis underscores their dedication to eliminating virgin leather from GANNI products by 2030.

The Modern Synthesis x Ganni Bou Bag will take center stage at the Material Matters fair, running from September 20-23 during the London Design Festival. By showcasing this unique piece at the festival, Modern Synthesis and GANNI spotlight the potential of design and offer a glimpse into the promising future of biomaterials in the commercial fashion industry.

Lauren Bartley, Sustainability & CSR Director at GANNI, stated, “GANNI is on track to phase out all virgin leather by the end of this year,  which has been a radical goal for us. But the work doesn’t stop here. Working and trialing with partners like Modern Synthesis to develop more responsible and durable leather alternatives is crucial for us. Doing so enables us to create high-quality design products in lower-impact materials – changing the future of fabrics as we know them today. By partnering with Modern Synthesis to develop our iconic Bou Bag from bacteria, we get another step closer to our goal of having 10% of materials coming from our ‘Fabrics of The Future’ by 2025 – and we can’t wait to see what else we can make with Modern Synthesis’ technology.”

Jen Keane, CEO of Modern Synthesis, explained, “Collaborating with GANNI on the Bou Bag has allowed us to showcase the viability of bacterial cellulose-based materials in real-world applications. These one-off showcase pieces are pivotal in evaluating a material’s workability and appeal to both designers and consumers – which paves the way for its eventual integration into everyday fashion. Our pilot is a testament to the potential of sustainable materials in transforming the fashion industry, and we’re excited to grow our partnership.”

As the bacterial nanocellulose Bou Bag makes its debut at the Material Matters fair, Modern Synthesis and GANNI anticipate that this pilot project will inspire other fashion brands to explore sustainable alternatives. By pushing the boundaries of design and material capabilities, these two entities are driving the industry towards a more conscious and creative future.

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