Could mushrooms save the fashion industry?
Can Mushrooms Become The Next Sustainable Leather Alternative In The Fashion Industry?
Since its invention almost 7000 years ago, leather has become one of the most sturdy and versatile materials. However they aren’t aren’t as ethical and sustainable as other innovations that have sprung up in recent times. As strange as it might sound, the latest contender is the humble fungus that can be used to shape the future of the sustainable fashion industry.
In recent years synthetic polymers have made waves in the industry as they are more ethical compared to using leather that is derived from animals, however these materials end up in landfill and create the same waste issues as other synthetic plastics.
It takes a few weeks from single spore to fungi derived leather that is ready to use versus the several years it takes for bovine leather.
So if you’re wondering how it works (you’re not alone), keep reading!
A thick mat is formed when the mushroom roots are grown on sawdust or agricultural waste. This then can be treated and processed resembling leather.
During the process waste is converted into useful materials and accumulates carbon in the ever growing fungus.
The roots of the mushrooms are used, the process of growing the fungi derived leather can be widely carried out, requires minimal equipment, no sunlight is required and it is thought to be able to be scalable for mass production.
Mild alcoholds, dyes and acids are also generally involved which modifies the fungal material, allowing it to become compressed, dried and embossed. As a result, the vegan leather is said to feel and look just like animal leather with comparable durability.
This sustainable innovation is still in its early years and further testing of the technology needs to be undertaken. But we’re definitely excited for what’s to come!