With the rise of sustainable fashion came the need to replace some of fashion’s favorite materials that continue to cause ethical and environmental concerns. One of those materials, unsurprisingly, is genuine leather. Although the leather goods market is still valued at $414 billion worldwide, researchers haven’t stopped their quest to find eco-friendly alternatives. And it seems that one company, in particular, managed to do just that. The product they’ve created looks and feels like genuine leather when it’s actually made of a fungus.
Not Every Leather Alternative Is Actually Eco-Friendly
Although there are a number of vegan leathers on the market, their production often involves releasing pollutants into the air. Probably the most used vegan leather today, polyurethane or PU is exactly that, a pollutant. It takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, and it releases toxins into the atmosphere. As you can see, the fossil fuel derivative known as PU is far from the ideal choice for anyone, much less conscious consumers.
Mylo, the Peculiar Fungus, Entered the Race of Sustainability… and Won
You may have heard the name Bolt Threads before since it’s the same company that created Microsilk in 2017 – an alternative to spider-spun silk that fashion designer Stella McCartney even used on one of her dresses. Now, they’ve released Mylo, a leather alternative made from a fungus.
Mylo is grown from mycelium cells which are then fed with sawdust and left to rest. They are then harvested and treated. These cells are the so-called roots that fungi use to grow. The ‘Unleather’ is practically an infinitely-renewable resource making it not only sustainable but completely organic too.
Big Plans Ahead for Mylo
Several fashion brands have joined forces to invest in the fungus-originated material and get exclusive access to using it. These include Adidas, Kering (the group behind the likes of Saint Laurent and Gucci), Lululemon, and Stella McCartney. It won’t be long before we start seeing more creations like Mylo, both in high and regular fashion.