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Plant-Based Textile Maker Taps Ralph Lauren for Legal Boss (1)

March 11, 2021, 7:33 PMUpdated: March 11, 2021, 8:53 PM

Natural Fiber Welding Inc., a Peoria, Ill.-based company that produces sustainable and plant-based textiles, has hired former Ralph Lauren Corp. lawyer Anthony Traymore as its first general counsel.

Traymore makes the move after Ralph Lauren made a minority investment in the company last August, which operates alternative leather and natural fibers brands Mirum and Clarus.

Traymore said he managed the legal relationship between Ralph Lauren and NFW in his previous role, including overseeing commercial agreements and the eventual equity investment. He officially assumed his role with NFW on March 1.

“I’m big believer in the direction of the company and the potential for it, not just with respect to the current focus of a lot of brands on sustainability, but also from a purely performance perspective,” Traymore told Bloomberg Law. “Their technology can really add a tremendous amount of value to brands in the apparel industry. They’re just getting started, but there’s already a tremendous amount of potential for growth.”

Ralph Lauren said in a statement last year announcing its investment that it planned to develop sustainable apparel using Natural Fiber’s textiles. Popular shoe brand Allbirds currently uses the Natural Fiber Mirum brand “plant leather” in its products.

The company, founded in 2015, has received grants from the U.S. Defense Department to research and produce “new materials directly from natural sources,” according to a statement from Luke Haverhals, Natural Fiber’s founder and CEO .

The department awarded the company over $755,000 in three separate grants, based on records from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Natural Fiber also received a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

As general counsel and NFW’s first and only in-house lawyer, Traymore said he hopes to reduce the company’s reliance on outside firms but expects to continue relying on outside counsel for matters like intellectual property, which he called"the backbone of the business.”

Before joining Ralph Lauren, Traymore worked for Sony Corp. of America and was in private practice with firms Reed Smith and Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner. He is also a co-founder and managing shareholder for Traymore Murphy Legal & Advisory, a firm he started with his wife Maura Murphy.

(Updated with comments and information from Traymore throughout. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at
John Hughes in Washington at