The Future of Mushroom Fabrics

In early April, Vogue posted the article You Aren’t Tripping: Fungi are Taking Over Fashion. The article details how mushrooms are taking over our every day, from shirt designs to microdosing to recipes, and how mushrooms are now being used to create vegan leather among other materials.

a Black model poses in black matching top and skirt made from Mylo mushroom leather
Stella McCartney releases collection made of Mylo

We’ve known about the benefits of mushrooms for decades, and even though Mylo was invented in 2013, now the fungus is being acknowledged in the fashion world as a legitimate source for fabrics within the fashion industry. Vogue isn’t the only powerhouse to take notice, with brands like Stella McCartney releasing garments made of Mylo, the leather grown from mushrooms. Mylo fabric is durable and stylish, and the process of making it reduces the waste that occurs in producing textiles. This “mushroom fabric” is being touted as the future of leather, and we’re exploring where it’s going to go.

How it’s Made

The process of creating Mylo begins with mycelium cells from mushroom plants. These cells are grown in a lab on beds of renewable, organic leather to create an interconnected 3D network. Once the network has grown enough, it is harvested, tanned, and dyed to create the fabric. The result is a fabric that is less strong than suede, but still extremely durable compared to most other fabrics. The process of creating mushroom leather is good on our environment, and some are hoping that it bypasses animal leather completely.

Where it’s Been

Mushroom leather wasn’t accessible, but thanks to startups like Bolt Threads partnering with big-name brands such as Lululemon, Gucci, and Adidas, this vegan leather alternative is starting to make waves in the fashion industry. These brands sought the partnership with Bolt Threads to hone in on creating more sustainable designs using materials that are better for our Earth. Bold Threads made Mylo accessible by providing a way for mushroom fabric to be grown in a timely manner. The fact that the larger fashion houses have invested in Mylo means that a serious argument is being made to move away from animal leathers and into a more sustainable future where the supply chain is dominated by vegan leather. White Rhino has also been looking for ways to incorporate mushrooms into our fabric lineup.

Where it’s Going

The fashion industry has only dipped its toe into mushrooms - big brands have acknowledged its potential by releasing lines that feature the fabric, and with their help, Mylo will eventually replace or supplement other vegan materials that are more costly. The process of creating Mylo has been established, and the best way for brands to adopt this new leather is to integrate it into future designs and replace it where traditional leather would have been the main focus. We expect Mylo to eventually shift into other types of fabrics, and eventually become a mainstay in the fashion industry.

Overall, mushroom leather is a sustainable alternative to other vegan fabrics, and we’re excited to see how brands start to adopt this option in the future.

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