Photo Credit: Stella McCartney
The industry of fashion is trying to reinvent itself in many ways; allowing more diversity in, becoming an inclusive community, and even putting efforts to become a more environmentally aware sector. We have been witnessing gradual and positive changes, ones that many of us were fighting for, but unusual ones as well. Unusual ones like the inclusion of mushrooms in everyday wear.
Who would’ve ever thought that mushrooms could be fashionable? Well, get ready, because they might become a new staple material in the fashion world (and a more responsible one too).
The mysterious and wide category of fungi has become increasingly popular over the past years in the medical sector, with their researched use resulting beneficial to a range of problems such as mental health and unbalanced diets. Their popularity and benefits now seem to have expanded from the medical sector, even reaching the fashion one by becoming an alternative to leather.
As much as we may love it, leather is not the most sustainable of choices… It is an animal product that goes against the efforts to become more environmentally aware, it is also considered unsuitable by vegans, vegetarians and various religious groups. For this reason, many brands have often opted for artificial substitutes. But these are starting to be questioned due to their oil-derived plastics necessary for the production fo artificial leather.
Mushrooms, on the other hand, have become a viable guilt-free alternative as proven by brands like Stella Mccartney who recently just launched her first collection made out of Mylo’s Unleather. Mylo’s Unleather, created by Bolt Threads, derives from mycelium which represents the root system of fungi, and looks just like leather but with a lower environmental cost.
To our surprise, the British fashion designer is not the only one to jump in this new direction. Hermès has recently announced their partnership with MycoWorks, to produce their own fungi alternative to leather, with a material known as Sylvania, which will be incorporated into the production of their luxury goods such as for their iconic “Victoria” travel bag.
This initiative being taken by high fashion brands seems like an encouraging step towards the right direction in the fashion world. Nonetheless, we have yet to see how these products will be welcome by the public and other fashion houses, but it’s worth looking out for because if they are as promising as they seem, it may represent the so awaited goodbye to both animal and plastic derived leather.
Words By Chiara Ferrari