Animal free leather seems promising in the future of the fashion industry. Many fashion brands have been trying to find a sustainable alternative to classic animal leather. Thanks to their kinder efforts, new innovative material started to replace animal leather in fashion.
Luxury brand, Stella McCartney launched the world’s first commercial luxury handbag, ‘Frayme Mylo’ made from mushroom leather at summer 2022 runway, available in store in early of July. The new bag is crafted from a vegetable alternative using a mycelium-based leather alternative, known as Mylo.
Mylo refers to certified bio-based leather alternatives made from infinitely renewable mycelium, derived from the underground root-like system of fungi. Mycelium is known to be infinitely sustainable, abundant in nature since it grows beneath mushrooms and fungi. It is essentially the roots of mushroom systems, also known as ‘nature’s internet’ or the ‘wood wide web.’
The Mylo bag is created by the visionary scientists and engineers at Bolt Threads. Since 2017, Bolt Threads have been working with Stella McCartney, but also supporting other sport brands like adidas, lululemon.
The scientists at Bolt Threads developed a state-of-the-art process which reproduces the ideal growing conditions of mycelium beneath the forest floor in a vertical farming facility with mulch, air, and water, which is powered by renewable energy in a lab.
Over 5,000 iterations, they eventually developed the process of transforming mycelium into Mylo, which creates a soft, supple, and realistic vegan leather. In the lab of Bolt Threads, the mycelium is collected as a foamy layer. Its similar structure that mimics microstructure of collagen embodies a warmth and sponginess in the final material.
Along with Stella McCartney, Mylo was also adopted by other fashion brands like Hermès, Adidas, Lululemon and Kering Group.
Hermès announced an investment in the start-up Mycoworks last year, which produces leather from mushrooms.
Adidas is still on the way of developing products featuring Mylo, while, in 2020, introduced ‘the Stan Smith Mylo’, the first-ever shoe made of Mylo material.
Athletic apparel brand, Lululemon already unveiled two bags finished in Mylo embellishments, and one yoga mat entirely made from undyed Mylo in a capsule collection.
Kering Group (the fashion house holding multiple brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta) partnered with Mylo™ Unleather, producing leather from mycelium.
Kering also invested in another material science company, VitroLabs, based in California, producing leather from animal cells multiplied in an isolated nutrient-rich environment in the laboratory.
The eco-innovative material is less harmful to the environment with ultimately lower environmental impacts than raising livestock, not evening killing the animals.
This is only the beginning of the story of how vegan leather evolved in fashion. The effort toward meaningful material will go on.
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