Red mushrooms on forest floor


Would you wear a jacket made from mushrooms?

Fashion > Would you wear a jacket made from mushrooms?

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Vegan leather is now a thing!

21 December 2021, 11:25 AM


Scientists have engineered a vegan alternative for leather made from fungi, and they’ve even been working closely with traditional leather craftspeople to make it look and feel just like the real thing.

Scientists are using innovative solutions to create plastic-free vegan options from kombucha, pineapples and even mushrooms!

We all know leather has had a controversial history and is a questionable material when it comes to sustainability – from animal welfare, waste, greenhouse gas emissions and water usage – just to name a few…

This new and improved fake leather is made from mycelium, which are the filaments found on fun guys like fungi. So if you give a shiitake about the environment, get involved! (We’re hilarious, we know).

It’s super easy to produce, too. Long threads of fungi grow into a sheet and, within just a couple of weeks, the fungal biomass can be harvested.

Not only does the mycelium replicate the appearance and feel of leather, but it’s actually stronger and more durable than traditional leather.  

The new ethically conscious material is biodegradable, more ethical and has a lower environmental impact than real leather, which, as we know, is made from animal skins. This means we could potentially put a stop to the damaging environmental effects of fast fashion.  

So, tell me more about this mysterious mycelium, we hear you ask…

Well, it’s one of the earth’s most powerful agents of regeneration, it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, grows abundantly nearly everywhere on our planet, AND is often found in most regular soil and forest beds.

You may struggle to spot the mycelium magic if you’re out for a stroll, though, as it all takes places underground. When you think of mushrooms and other fungi, you might think of little shroom-y shapes that seem to just pop up out of the ground – but they are just the ‘fruit’ of the fungal organism.

Just like any other plant that bears fruit, there’s a lot more growing taking place in other parts of the plant. For fungi, it’s below the surface, and mycelium are the tiny threads that connect it altogether. They weave themselves in and around tree roots, and connect individual plants together to transfer all kinds of goodness – like nitrogen, water, carbon, and other minerals needed for them to grow. A German forester, Peter Wohlleben, was so impressed by how these networks helped trees ‘communicate’, that he dubbed mycelium networks “the woodwide web”! Now that’s something we’ll log on to 😉

Fun fact: Vegan leather can also be made from more natural resources, including pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, and recycled plastic.

So, is there ‘mush-room’(ha!) in your life to change to this alternative leather? Let us know what you think over on our social channels.

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