The fashion industry is making a lot of noise about replacing leather. The first ever commercially available item manufactured completely of Reishi, a high-end vegan leather produced with mycelium, is a stylish bucket hat. The Reishi Boletus hat is the outcome of a collaboration between MycoWorks, a pioneer in biomaterials, and renowned hatmaker Nick Fouquet. Along with the Boletus, Fouquet has created and produced two more hats that incorporate Reishi as decorative trims: the Coprinus and the Morchella.
An environmentally responsible and vegan-friendly substitute for animal leather is mushroom leather. The vegetative portion of a fungus called mycelium is used to create mushroom leather. Any eukaryotic organism, or fungus (plural), is a member of this group.
This is a significant step for everyone who has been following the vegan leather industry. Mycelium, the "infinitely renewable root structure of mushrooms," may grow and evolve into a material that resembles the best leathers made from animals while having a much less negative environmental impact. It can be tanned without using hazardous materials like chrome and can be colored, embossed, and sewn just like leather. According to MycoWorks, Reishi "matches or exceeds cowhide leather in various capabilities and displays equivalent strength and abrasion resistance across standard test standards."
Where Does Mushroom Leather Come From?
It was first proposed in 2012 to create leather-like material from mushrooms. At that time, Jonas Edvard and Philip Ross, two product designers, began experimenting with mycelium-based home furnishings. They soon learn about this organic material's adaptability.
"Mycelium may be utilized to create spacecraft, batteries, and clothing. The utility of mycelium is frightfully limitless.”, Ross stated at the time.
The correct substrate must first be chosen and moisturized before creating mushroom leather. Mushrooms use substrates as food and as a place to grow. Wood chips, straw, maize, and other materials that the fungus can cling to and grow on are the most typical substrates. The substrate is then moistened, placed in a bag, and pasteurized. By eliminating interfering bacteria, this procedure makes the mycelium-growing process simpler and faster.
Can Different Types of Mushroom Fabric Be Made?
Mushroom leather can currently be made in several different methods. For instance, the producer might change the material's texture and color throughout the compression process. Any type of animal leather, from cow to alligator and python skin, can look and feel like the finished product by adding colors or altering the pressing process. After drying, the mushroom leather is prepared for usage. Additionally, these methods are being improved upon daily.
Currently, commercial oyster mushrooms are the source of the most frequent type of mycelium utilized in making mushroom leather. However, some businesses use specific varieties of mushrooms to obtain special qualities in the leather. MuSkin is one of these cutting-edge mushroom-based materials. Phellinus ellipsoideus, a sizable parasitic fungus that lives in the wild and affects trees in subtropical woods, is the source of MuSkin.
Bolt Threads is another significant producer of mushroom leather. Mylo is the brand's most well-liked faux leather product so far. The company is testing various varieties of fungi. The business is extremely forthright about the advantages of using its special substance in place of animal leather.
Is Mushroom Leather a Sustainable Material?
The dyeing method for mushroom leather doesn't use any chemicals and it is completely ecological and biodegradable. Compared to animal leather, which is colored using a massive amount of chemicals. Poor adults and children who work in factories are exposed to dangerous chemicals, and some of them work barefoot or without safety gear.
In comparison, mushroom leather uses a small number of materials (land, water, food, etc.) 30 percent of the world's land mass consumes water and generates 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, which is significant given that the US animal leather sector uses 50% of the water consumed globally.
It takes mushroom leather two weeks to reach the size of a typical cowhide. For instance, compared to animal leather, which typically takes 3 years to mature, mushroom leather grows 70–80 times faster. If one also takes into account the fact that 100% of mushroom leather can be used after being grown and that only 30% of an animal's skin is used.
Mushroom leather is quite comfortable to wear against the skin and doesn't irritate it. Completely understandable when you take into account the fact that mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to treat conditions like skin problems among other things.
For instance, Bolt Threads' Mylo mushroom leather is used to create Stella McCarney's iconic Falabella bag. Similar to Nat-2, a German firm famous for its high-end sneakers, Tinder Fungus-derived leather and sustainable materials are used. This unusual mushroom lends the goods a "vintage aspect."
Alternative vegan leather
Aside from mycelium, brands have been experimenting with plant-based formulas in the hopes of appealing to consumers' hearts as well as their wallets. Gucci produced sneakers last June made of Demetra, a material made of viscose, wood pulp, and bio-based polyurethane generated from European wheat and corn that have not been genetically modified. Allbirds has backed Natural Fiber Welding's Mirum, which will gain "increased access" thanks to a new collaboration with Veshin Factory, a Costa Rican and Guangzhou-based manufacturer of vegan clothing.
No animals are harmed in the production of mushroom leather. There is no doubt that this is a substance that will be very important in the future.
It has all the characteristics of animal leather and is quite comparable to cow leather. It is also even lighter than animal leather and suitable for wearing on the skin because it is a natural product, in addition to being completely sustainable and animal friendly.
Because it resembles cow leather and has better needs, this material can simply replace. The appearance of mushroom leather is less appealing than that of pineapple leather, nevertheless.
People's preconceived notion that animal leather is the best available is one of the other two key issues preventing the widespread use of mushroom leather. the enormous cost involved in producing this environmentally friendly substance. But considering the current sustainable fashion industry trend, it won't be long before mushroom leather sees higher production rates and more affordable manufacturing costs.
Soon, stylish purses, biker jackets, high heels, and accessories made of mushroom leather should be available in stores all over the world.