What is Mushroom Leather?
Mushroom leather is a relatively new product that is very sustainable and environmentally friendly. We as fashion consumers have become increasingly conscious of how the product we are buying affects the environment, we tend to look more for sustainable clothing. Leather alternatives have become a large part of our wardrobe in recent years.
Mushroom leather is a very new and cutting-edge product. The product was first patented by MycoWorks and Ecovative Design in 2015 in order to find a more sustainable leather alternative. Mushroom leather products are in the very beginning of use, but while there is not much product available for us as consumers to buy, the signs are very promising for the future of the leather alternative.
The process of making mushroom leather is fascinating. Mushrooms are made out of this root-like structure called mycelium. When the mushrooms are grown on certain materials such as sawdust, they form a thick layer of roots that, when treated, resembles leather. This process can be carried out virtually anywhere due to that it is the roots being used, not the mushrooms and mushrooms do not require light to grow. The production of mushroom leather only takes a couple of weeks making it incredibly fast to make compared to other leather alternatives. At the end of its lifecycle, mushroom leather is biodegradable, making it increasingly sustainable. Mushroom leather has a positive impact on the environment.
Being that mushroom leather is such a new product, there has been little time for innovations. Companies such as Bolt Threads are working to make mushroom leather a product that is well known and used throughout the fashion industry. MycoWorks, the most well-known mushroom leather producer, is pushing the product also.
Several companies have started using mushroom leather because of its sustainability. A consortium of companies consisting of Adidas, Kering, Lululemon and Stella McCartney have come together to use mushroom leather products. Adidas recently announced their first shoe made out of mushroom leather, the Stan Smith Mylo. Stella McCartney released the world’s first mushroom leather garment in March of 2021. Chanel has made earrings out of mushrooms. Hermes is looking to releasethe Victoria bag made exclusively out of Sylvania a mushroom leather . The bag is set to release towards the end of the year and price start at from about £3,500.
"MycoWorks, the company Hermès is partnering with, closed a $45 million series B funding round last year led by Taipei-based WTT Investment Ltd. and venture capital fund DCVC Bio, with additional investment from Natalie Portman, John Legend and several unnamed 'major fashion brands.' ” - Business of Fashion
While there may not be many products available to us that are eager to get our hands on this cutting-edge product, the hope of the companies involved is to get product out into the market in 2022. The possibilities of clothing that can be made out of mushroom leather are endless and the impact it will have on the fashion industry will hopefully be a sight to behold.
Written by Thomas Campbell