Mushroom Leather: The Next Big Thing in Sustainable Fashion
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
By: Amana Bhumitra
Mushroom leather is the newest sustainable alternative that has sparked the interests of multiple designers as it is a viable option. Studies have shown that although this material is not as durable as suede, it is more sustainable than animal byproduct or synthetic vegan leather. A leading company in this new technology, Mylo Unleather, has developed their own mycelium leather and has partnered with Adidas, Stella Mcartney, and Lululemon. Mycelium is a part of fungus that has a strong lattice. The collaboration with Adidas in April 2021 was probably the most notable, as they reinvented the Stan Smith sneaker with this new technology.
Hermes recently announced that they would be launching a travel bag made from mushroom leather. Previously the Victoria bag from Hermes has been made from calfskin. This new rendition of the bag will be made from Sylvania, a fungal fabric. However, it will still include elements of calfskin and canvas. This bag will not be entirely sustainable, yet it is a step in the right direction as sustainable fashion alternatives continue to be an expanding market. Hermes has stated they will still be selling leather goods, but this begs the question of if their customer base is still willing to spend the same amount of money on a fabric that will hopefully be more accessible in the future. Although there are different types of mushroom leather, the brand is known for its rare animal leather and its luxury is reflected in the price.
Personally, I think it is not only a great environmental decision to start using more sustainable fabrics, it is also a clever business strategy as more designers have begun to make the switch to more sustainable products. The Prada Group, which includes Prada, Miu Miu, Marchesi, and Church’s Shoes have stopped using fur within the last year, and as public opinion has recently shown a spike in disdain for leather it is foreseeable that other designers may soon follow in the footsteps of Hermes.