After hearing how it was determined that rice was the best choice for his new vegan leather, we asked Asif Ali Gohar if he plans to expand to any of the other materials that were considered.
What other materials were considered before you decided?
We also tried soy, as it has been used before, as well as cabbage and lettuce varieties, and for a short time even carrots, but wheat was probably one of the closest. We worked with each to determine how it would work in the process, how it would hold up as an end product, and if it was easily available and affordable to ship. Both weight and strength were considered as part of the final decision.
How did you choose rice in the end?
Rice was proven to be easily available, easy to work with, and held up well to the testing of the final product. It is affordable to purchase and doesn’t need to be imported, which lowers the taxes and other implications. It being easy enough to access was a large advantage and helps us to keep up with our demand so that we do not have customers waiting longer for their orders.
Will you expand to include any of the other materials?
I do not currently have plans to expand but it is possible in the future that I will expand the line to include other materials. Perhaps an alternative silk that is sourced from wheat stalks or a softer type of material. There will always be limitations on what can be created, but there is a possibility of creating a material that flows and remains soft and pliable to form soft silhouettes.
What would need to happen for you to change materials?
If I found a need for a different type of material that rice doesn’t work well for, then I would choose different raw materials to try. I would also change the material if rice became hard to get, or if it was no longer meeting the quality levels that are required. It is also possible that we will expand the offerings rather than change them completely, and provide an alternative to other materials as well.
As I already know some of the qualities of other sources there are a few things that we may work on in the future, but for now we do not need to expand yet. The growth of our current offerings is the main focus, and once that has slowed or when it is settled into a predictable growth, then we can consider alternatives and expansion.
It seems from the conversation that there is a potential for expansion in the future but that there are no current plans. With the customer base growing as quickly as it is, we are certain that if there is an expansion later it will be welcomed by the entire fashion industry.