More and more global fashion brands are turning to mushroom leather


The mushroom is the star in the world of ethical leathers right now.

After having massively turned their backs on animal fur, many brands are gradually abandoning leather in favor of ethical, sustainable and vegan alternatives. Mushroom fibers seem to be the revolutionary material, as the material is both respectful of the environment and animal welfare.

Image credit: Mylo

Your future “it bag” or your new sneakers could be in mushrooms. The idea might have seemed far-fetched not too long ago, but mushroom fibers should soon be popping up everywhere in the ready-to-wear and accessories departments of your favorite stores. And contrary to what one might think, the concept is not new; scientists and companies have been working on the subject for several years.

First of all: why give up leather?

If animal fur has most often been singled out for the cruelty it induces towards animals, animal leather has also made a lot of noise. Ethical reasons push consumers to ask for new alternatives, and brands to respond to these new expectations.

“While most people wouldn’t dream of wearing real fur, leather also comes from animals that have been cruelly killed for their skin… More than a billion animals are killed around the world each year for the trade in leather, from cows and calves to horses, lambs, goats and pigs – and even dogs and cats. When you wear leather, there is no easy way to know for sure what skin you are, ”explains PETA United Kingdom on its website.

The good news is that in addition to addressing this problem, the alternatives that have emerged in recent months are also proving to be more durable. This is the case with “leather” with mushrooms.

Why should you try it

While pineapple leaves and apple fibers were quickly identified as perfect candidates to replace animal leather, the fungus, initially less known, is gradually establishing itself as a key material of the future for its environmental qualities and aesthetic as well as for its low cost.

This has already been pointed out by a research team from the University of Vienna, Imperial College London and RMIT University in Australia, in September 2020, highlighting the fact that materials from fungi are carbon neutral and biodegradable at the end of their life.

“…[T]he growing number of companies producing alternatives to leather based on mushrooms and biomass suggests that this new material will play a considerable role in the future of ethical and environmentally friendly fabrics, ”the scientists predicted.

As announced last November, the start-up Bolt Threads Inc. is at the origin of Mylo, a revolutionary material based on mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus formed of filaments, which everyone has been talking about since the beginning of year and which is presented as “infinitely renewable”.

In the fall of 2020, fashion giants like adidas, Stella McCartney and Kering had set their sights on this technology in order to be able to offer more ethical and sustainable collections.

Stella McCartney, who has always defended and supported animal and environmental causes, recently presented the first clothes, a top and pants, signed Mylo, while the luxury house Hermès announced the upcoming launch of a bag in fibers of mushroom, a material developed this time with the start-up MycoWorks. Two successive announcements which tend to confirm that the mushroom is indeed pushing to take a prominent place in the fashion industry.

This article is published via AFP Relaxnews. Featured and hero image credit: Hermes.

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