Found deep undersea, Hagfish may have shown the way.
Hagfish slime has the potential to provide a natural and renewable alternative. The jawless, spineless hagfish is a primitive creature that lives at the bottom of the ocean and dates back as far as 500 million years - but it exudes a very special slime, which could provide the clothing of the future.
Dinosaurs became extinct about 60 million years ago, but a hagfish fossil—complete with evidence of slime-producing glands—has been found dating back 330 million years.
A hagfish has about 100 of these glands that run along the side of its body from which they exude a milky, white substance, comprised of mucus and thread. When this substance mixes with seawater, it expands, creating huge amounts of clear slime, composed of very thin—but super-strong and stretchy—fibers. When stretched and dried, they become silky.
Because the slimy 1ft long fish don't respond well to captivity, scientists are trying to work out a way to produce the slime fibers artificially in the lab. Before, they've tried to replicate spider silk, but the large proteins in the fiber make it difficult. Hagfish slime has similar properties to spider silk and the proteins are smaller.
While this concept might be offputting, stay focused. I remember about 15 years ago when I saw the first sweatshirt made with a miraculous fluffy texture. It turned out to be made from recycled plastic bottles.